Sen. Ted Cruz took to social media to ask if the Chinese government influenced a speech former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Sunday at the South by Southwest conference, where she urged the audience not to “go after China.”
The comment came as the Democratic lawmaker was urging global cooperation to stop climate change during a series on the “Future of Democracy.”
“Here’s the thing, you can’t just go after China with a cudgel. You have to say, ‘We have to live on this planet together. How can we work together to save the planet from climate change?’” Pelosi asked at the Line Hotel Austin.
She added: “They are essential in that discussion. How can we work with them on issues when we can find common ground.”
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Cruz, R-Texas, shared a clip of her comments on Twitter Monday, asking: “Did the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] write these remarks?”
The SXSW sessions, presented by The Atlantic, included sessions on the evolution of American political parties and the state of democracy in the U.S. and around the world.
Pelosi, D-Calif., joined a panel discussion where she also addressed changes in the Republican Party and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
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As for Republicans, Pelosi said the party has turned “into a cult.”
“As you saw on January 6, there is a sentiment in our country that is anarchist,” the former House speaker said. “I keep saying to my Republican friends—and I do have some—take back your party.”
She added: “You’re a grand ole party, you’ve done great things for our country, the country needs a strong Republican Party. Instead, you’ve turned into a cult, to a thug.”
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Pelosi also mentioned the party being helmed by “radical, right-wing, destructive” leaders.
The former House speaker’s comments on China come as relations in the Indo-Pacific region remain tense, with Chinese President Xi Jinping taking an increasingly aggressive posture towards Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Pelosi was personally responsible for some of these tensions as she visited Taiwan in August 2022, sparking international backlash.
China has also infuriated American lawmakers with its support of Russia — although it has publicly called for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to peacefully end.
President Xi’s only international trip amid the global COVID pandemic has also been with Russian and Iranian leaders, further straining diplomatic tensions with the West.
And, in the Pacific, North Korea continues to threaten stability with continual ballistic missile tests and the further development of its nuclear program. Its most recent launch was Tuesday.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said Tuesday’s launches don’t pose an immediate threat to its allies.
Meanwhile, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. continue to bolster their own relations and President Biden has sent ships into the region to help ease allies.
Washington and Seoul are currently conducting joint military operations over the Korean Peninsula. The Pentagon has also requested nearly $1 trillion in defense spending to meet this perceived Pacific threat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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