Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced On Tuesday, he barred President Biden’s candidate for ambassador to China Nicholas Burns over concerns about Burns’ business ties to China.
why it matters: Burns is a widely respected former career diplomat who was expected to receive overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has blocked dozens of Biden’s State Department candidates, lifted his blockade for Burns.
What are they saying: “Nicholas Burns has had a long career in public service, but it is a career defined by a failure to understand the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said in a statement.
- “Indeed, Burns shows no remorse or concern about his existing business relationships with stateless corporations operating in China,” he said, referring to Burns in what is potentially. global consultancy For the Cohen group.
- “Burns is exactly the type of nominee I expect President Biden to do given this administration’s weak approach to China, including lobbying against my bipartisanship. Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act,
big picture: Burns took a tough stance on the Chinese government during a Senate confirmation hearing last month, saying it poses “the biggest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world” in the 21st century.
- Rubio’s gripe – which would delay, but not completely block Burns’ confirmation – comes a day after Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of his push for not having ties to the “railway”. Held a virtual summit.
- Burns has echoed the Biden administration’s position that the US and China should find ways to cooperate on issues such as climate change, while engaging in intense competition in other areas.
Noteworthy: Rubio also announced that he has put on hold on Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Spain, Julissa Reynoso Pantalion, due to concerns over his attitude toward Cuba. Reynoso currently serves as Chief of Staff to first lady Jill Biden, and was previously the US ambassador to Uruguay under President Obama.