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McCormick called Pennsylvania’s ‘China hawk’

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(The Center Square) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick came to Philadelphia this week to craft himself as a leader against the nefarious influence of the Chinese Communist Party for Pennsylvania.

Introducing McCormick, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called him “a Pennsylvanian through and through” and an “unabashed, unapologetic China hawk.”

McCormick argued that current U.S. Senator Bob Casey is a career politician who has “dithered, failed, and should be replaced,” lacking the leadership necessary to deal with the China threat.

“We need to make historic investments in weapons and shipbuilding,” McCormick said. “We must build muscle to keep innovating in key industries while reducing our dependence on China.”

“China doesn’t play by the rules,” he added. “The days of unbridled free trade with China must end.”

Instead, McCormick laid out six goals: stop the flow of fentanyl and its ingredients from China; revoke China’s permanent normal trade relations status and get it out of the World Trade Organization; move away from American dependence on Chinese lithium batteries and solar panels; stop investments that benefit the CCP’s security state; remove China from the World Health Organization; and ban strategic purchases of American land by the CCP.

“This is about the kind of world we will pass on to our children,” McCormick said. “It’s about refilling the shop floors in Pittsburgh and ensuring the teenagers in Chester County are protected against the scourge of fentanyl.”

McCormick’s speech comes on the heels of other efforts by Pennsylvania Republicans to take more action to decouple the commonwealth from its Chinese connections.

In November, Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Chambersburg, proposed legislation to require the Treasury and public pension systems to divest its Chinese-connected holdings. While the Treasury has already done so after divesting from Russia and Belarus, at least one pension system has almost $1 billion in Chinese-connected funds, which could take years to separate.

The Republican candidate has also faced criticism for his time leading the hedge fund Bridgewater when it increased investments in China from less than $2 million in 2017 to $1.7 billion by 2021.

McCormick, though, didn’t well long on the recent past.

“Leadership and ideas — Sen. Casey offers neither,” McCormick said. “He’ll ignore the serious ideas we’ve discussed today. He’s gonna say ‘McCormick himself did business in China. Bridgewater did business in China.’ And it did. These attacks are predictable. But the real question is who has the will and the strength to act.”

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