Two Republican presidential candidates, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, gave dueling separate speeches on Friday in Charleston, South Carolina just miles away from each other. As Rubio focused on China and Walker focused on the ISIS, both top-tier candidates laid out their policy plans while taking jabs at President Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Senator Rubio speech, given at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce spoke entirely about China. He called the leader of China a tyrant based on his human rights violations as President Obama continues, “to appease China’s oppressive leaders, despite their mounting aggression and staying silent in the face of their human rights abuses.” Along with highlighting China aggression, Rubio said China leadership has “become a severe threat to U.S. economic and national security” by doing “everything it can to make the 21st century a Chinese Century.”
“[President Obama] has hoped that being more open to China would make them a more responsible nation, it has not worked,” Rubio said.
Just weeks ahead of the Chinese President Xi Jingping visit to the capital; Rubio has called for the visit to be downgraded from a state dinner to a working visit. “This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler and achieve meaningful progress, not to treat him to a state dinner.”
Detailing his three policy plan agenda for dealing with China, the Senator calls for restoring America’s national security, protecting America’s economy from China’s economic misconduct and advance the cause of freedom and human rights in China.
“The first goal will require restoring American Strength to ensure the United States remains a Pacific power. While China has increased its defense spending by another 10% this year, the Obama administration has cut defense spending by nearly a trillion dollars over a decade. Our Navy is now smaller, our Army is headed for pre-World War II levels, and our Air Force has the smallest and oldest combat force in its history,” Rubio said. “If elected, I will end defense sequestration and restore the Pentagon’s budget to its appropriate level,” he added.
Citing this week’s chaos of China weaken financial markets that has caused Wall Street’s stock market to surge, Rubio pointed out China’s economic misconduct is a “rising threat to our economic interests,” and “what happens across the world can impact American families.”
“As President, I would respond to China’s economic misconduct by reinforcing our insistence on free markets and free trade. This means immediately moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements that strengthen strategic ties with our partners in Asia.”
Rubio, who has pressed on the issue of human rights in his previous foreign speeches in regards to Cuba and Iran, continued to do so in relations with China. “Helping the Chinese people achieve freedom and democracy are not just our moral duty as a free people — it will have a profound effect on global prosperity and our security,” he asserted
“When I am president, Beijing will not receive a free pass on human rights. I will impose visa bans and asset freezes on Chinese officials who violate human rights. I will do all I can to empower Chinese citizens to breach what has been called the Great Firewall of China, and gain access to news and information online about their country and the world.”
A few miles away, the Wisconsin Governor laid out his foreign policy framework during a speech addressed at the Citadel military college. Speaking to a room full of cadets, Walker focused on the growing threat of radical Islamic terrorists as a result of President Obama and Hillary Clinton sits on the sidelines. He also tied the growing threat of terrorist by linking ISIS to Iran. “Far from beating ISIS, President Obama is barely disrupting it. His actual goal is to contain ISIS until he leaves office, all the while accommodating Iran. My goals will be to defeat ISIS and roll back Iran’s influence in the region.”
Walker during his speech heavily criticized Hillary Clinton saying during her tenure as Secretary of State, “America is not safer” based on her failed policy roles in regions of Libya, China, and Russia. “Everywhere in the world Hillary Clinton has touched is more messed up now than before she and the president took office,” Walker declared.
Promising to “defeat ISIS and roll back Iran,” Walker outlined that his policy as strategic objectives that will require “a greater investment of U.S. resources.” As president, Walker said he would enforce a no-fly zone and recruit fighters in Syria who opposes both ISIS and Assad to “enhance this campaign on the ground.” He also called for political restrictions to be lifted by this administration that is tying up our troops already in the region and preventing them from doing what is needed to defeat ISIS. “We need to stop micromanaging the military and broadcasting our limits to our enemies,” Walker said.
Walker expressed alliance as another step for defeating radical Islamic terrorism. Calling to restore the frayed alliance with Israel and Arab states, Walker stated how this “administration insults Israel, but never the Iranian Supreme Leader” as they remain the “world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism.”
“It is a stain on our nation’s honor that our countrymen languish in Iranian prisons while we are freeing up billions of dollars for the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and legitimizing its massive nuclear program,” Walker said, calling the Iran deal if passed “one of the greatest foreign policy failures in U.S. history.”
Calling the Iran Deal a bad deal, Walker promise to terminate the deal as President on day one and impose crippling sanctions against Iran. He also blasted how Clinton supports this deal as a result of her time in the state department.
“Hillary Clinton was instrumental in launching the administration’s short-sighted overtures to Iran and now she strongly supports this bad deal. Her disregard for Top Secret, classified and sensitive information on her email server shows that she cannot be trusted as commander-in-chief. Her support for the Iran deal shows she cannot be trusted to support Israel.”