by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former Vice President Joe Biden suggested on Monday that China’s economy or influence could not exceed that of the U.S., yet another turn for the 2020 candidate after he walked back similar comments due to backlash.
“What are we doing? We’re walking around with our heads down, ‘Woe is me,'” the Democratic presidential front-runner said at a campaign stop. “No other nation can catch us, including China. I got criticized for saying that. I’ve spent as much time with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping as any world leader has.”
At a campaign stop in Iowa a few weeks ago, Biden said that China was not competition for the U.S. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said May 1. “They’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”
Among those who criticized Biden, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said his comments would “not age well,” and presidential primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a tweet that “it’s wrong to pretend that China isn’t one of our major economic competitors.”
Under pressure, Biden walked back the assertion. “He’s got problems, he’s got gigantic problems. Doesn’t mean he’s not a threat, doesn’t mean they’re not a threat,” Biden said at a May 4 fundraiser in Columbia, S.C.