Vice President Mike Pence accused Joe Biden of being a “cheerleader” for China during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night.
Pence faced off against opponent Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) in the only election debate between the vice presidential candidates. Harris criticized President Trump’s handling of the tariff war with China, in which the Trump administration and Chinese government have placed tariffs on various exports.
“The vice president earlier referred to…what he thinks is an accomplishment: the president’s trade war with China,” Harris said. “You lost that trade war.” Harris went on to blame the trade war for the loss of 300,000 American manufacturing jobs.
Pence, however, hit back at the senator’s criticism.
“Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it,” Pence said. “Joe Biden’s been a cheerleader for communist China through…the last several decades.”
Pence went on to assert that while Biden was vice president under Barack Obama, the U.S. lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs. However, “In our first three years, after we cut taxes, rolled back regulation, and unleashed American energy, this administration saw 500,000 manufacturing jobs created.”
President Trump and his administration have attempted to renegotiate trade policies with China, and news of a trade agreement in January 2020 gave Trump record-high approval among American farmers. China is a major importer of U.S. soybeans and pork, among other agricultural products. However, the coronavirus pandemic has since upended much of U.S.-China trade.
The Trump campaign has sought to juxtapose his record on China with that of Biden, who supported normalized permanent trade relations with China and said early in his campaign that Beijing wasn’t a real threat to America.