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Biden: China ‘Going To Eat Our Lunch.’ 2019 Candidate Biden: ‘Eat Our Lunch? C’mon, Man!’
US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on the public health and economic crises at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware on January 14, 2021
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, President Biden, pitching Congress on infrastructure improvements, warned of China, “If we don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch. They have major, major new initiatives on rail that goes 225 mph with ease,” the New York Post reported.

Biden added, “They’re working very hard to try to move in a position where they end up being the source of a new way in which to power automobiles. They’re going to invest a lot of money. They’re investing billions of dollars in dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things. We just have to step up.” He bragged, “Last night, I was on the phone for two straight hours with Xi Jinping.”

The fear of China as competition and “eating our lunch” wasn’t an issue for Biden before he was president, apparently; in May 2019, speaking in Iowa City, Iowa, Biden acted unafraid of China, saying, “China is going to eat our lunch? C’mon, man. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean the west. They can’t figure out how they’re going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”

Biden told the crowd that there wasn’t a “single solitary” world leader who would trade the United States’ problems faced for those facing China, The Washington Post reported.

Biden’s 2019 comments drew ire immediately; then-GOP candidate for the Alabama Senate seat Bradley Byrne stated, “Biden on China: ‘They’re not competition for us’ I was just at a manufacturing plant that is being threatened by China’s corrupt trade practices. Not to mention the national security threats they pose. Joe is plain wrong. China is absolutely a threat.”

The Biden campaign responded that Biden “underscored that, whatever challenges we face as a nation, including those posed by a rising China, they pale in comparison to the structural and social challenges that confront China itself.”

Biden spoke to four senators on Thursday about his plans for infrastructure: Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD); Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee; and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), The Wall Street Journal noted.

“More than 54,000 bridges across the U.S. are rated ‘structurally deficient’ according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Roadways, ports and waterways are also disrepair. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released a report card in 2017 of infrastructure in the country and gave the nation a rating of D+. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 65% of major U.S. roads are rated as ‘less than good condition,’” MarketWatch noted.

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