Pompeo Takes On China, Fighting For Faith, Draining The Swamp

Monday, February 10, 2020

Pompeo Takes On China
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the National Governors Association this weekend.  It may seem odd that America's top diplomat was addressing our governors, who are generally preoccupied with domestic issues rather than foreign policy. 
But Secretary Pompeo wanted to speak to this audience, and he had a stark warning for them:  China's Communist Party (CCP) is "working" them and their key advisors.  Pompeo told the governors that the CCP has compiled a report with dossiers on all 50 governors labeling their positions toward China as "friendly," "ambiguous" or "hardline."
In short, Pompeo warned the governors to be alert to the threats posed by Beijing, and to do what they can at the state level to safeguard America's interests.  He cited several examples of Chinese diplomats pressuring state and local officials, including a Chicago high school, over Taiwan.
He urged governors to redirect state pension funds away from technology companies that aid Beijing's brutal suppression of speech and religious liberty, and to avoid investing in companies that support the People's Liberation Army.
I was pleased to see that Secretary Pompeo also warned the governors about China's Thousand Talents program and about the Confucius Institutes, funded by the Chinese Communist Party, on many of our college campuses.
While trade with China certainly can be beneficial for American companies and workers, in the past it has rarely been free or fair.  In fact, it has often come at a very high price.  Kudos to the Trump Administration for continuing to call out the worst aspects of China's predatory behavior.
Fighting For Faith
Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a panel discussion on religious freedom around the world.  The event coincided with the National Prayer Breakfast and took place at the Museum of the Bible. 
Much of my comments focused on rising anti-Semitism and Christian persecution in China.  You can watch the event here.  My remarks begin around the 1:38:30 mark.
Draining The Swamp
Washington elites were horrified by the news Friday afternoon that President Trump "fired" Lt. Col. Alex Vindman from his position at the National Security Council and that he had Vindman escorted from the White House complex.  Many in the media said it was retribution for his impeachment testimony.
As the head of the executive branch, the president has the authority to dismiss people who work for him.  Clearly, the president had no confidence in Vindman's abilities, and for good reason
It's also worth remembering Vindman's testimony.  He never accused the president of any crime and simply seemed upset that Trump was ignoring the "consensus policy" set by the National Security Council.  Well, President Trump doesn't work for the National Security Council. It's the other way around!
By the way, Vindman isn't the only NSC staffer to be shown the door in recent days.  The Trump White House has eliminated 70 NSC positions in an effort to reduce the bloated bureaucracy.
Mitt's Mess
Senator Mitt Romney returned to Utah last week to address furious voters outraged by his support for the left's attempt to impeach President Trump.  Sen. Romney said he knew there would be consequences, and he was right about that.
Not only are his poll numbers down significantly, there are efforts in the state legislature to censure Romney, to recall Romney and to distance the state from Romney by expressing support for President Trump.
If he chooses to seek reelection, Romney doesn't have to face the voters again until 2024.  That's a long time from now and perhaps voters will forget.  Then again, they will be periodically reminded about his unique status in the party.  For example, what does Romney do this November?  It's hard to see how he could endorse Trump for reelection after voting to impeach him. 
Meanwhile, it's worth remembering that Mike Lee is a senator today because he defeated an incumbent perceived to be out-of-touch by many Utah voters. 
Final Results?  Not Yet
Late yesterday, the Iowa Democrat Party announced the final results of last week's caucuses.  While Bernie Sanders won the popular vote, Pete Buttigieg is being awarded 14 delegates to Sanders's 12.  Elizabeth Warren will receive eight delegates, Biden six and Amy Klobuchar gets one delegate. 
The Sanders campaign isn't accepting the result and has demanded a recanvass
Meanwhile, the fallout from the caucus chaos continues.  DNC chairman Tom Perez is fighting off calls for his resignation from members of "the Squad."