White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced backlash on Monday afternoon after saying that the Biden administration welcomed “stiff competition” from communist China in response to a question about China obtaining advanced nuclear-capable weapons systems.
The question that Psaki was answering was based on the following report from the Financial Times:
China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise. Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.
The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realized. The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernization.
“I’m not going to comment on the specific report,” Psaki responded. “I can say and would echo what he said, which is, generally speaking, we’ve made clear, are concerned about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue. And we have been consistent in our approach with China. We welcome stiff competition, but we do not that competition to veer into conflict. And that is certainly what we convey privately as well.”
The following are a few of the most notable responses that Psaki’s comment generated:
- Douglas Ernst, writer: “I’m not sure it’s a good idea for a press secretary to say an administration ‘welcome[s] stiff competition’ when it comes to nations finding innovative and creative ways to destroy one another. What kind of person says that kind of thing? Yeesh.”
- John Cardillo, political commentator: “This is irresponsible, inappropriate, and downright dangerous.”
- Kurt Schlichter, columnist: “This is so unserious. And the reality could not be more serious.”
- Donald Trump Jr.: “Maybe I’m old fashioned but I prefer to beat communists, not just have a ‘stiff competition’ with them and then politely ask that they not beat us up when they catch up to our capabilities.”
- The Alabama Republican Party: “What?!?!?! This is not a ‘Bring it on’ situation here! This is a major national security issue.”
- John Cooper, The Heritage Foundation: “‘We welcome the Chinese Communist Party competing with us to develop advanced nuclear weapons’ is about the stupidest thing you could ever expect a U.S. administration to say publicly. So naturally the Biden administration did.”
- Jazz Shaw, writer: “It’s like they brought in somebody from Media Matters with no foreign policy experience to run the country.”
- Steve Milloy, political commentator: “And Milley was worried about Trump.”
- Richard Grenell, former Acting Director of National Intelligence: “Dear God. The entire Biden [team] doesn’t take the threat from China seriously.”
- Dana Loesch, political commentator: “It’s not competition when one participant steals everyone else’s IP and tech because of their murderous, clowntastic communism.”
- Dennis Sarfate: “Might be the worst response to a question ever. This is not a competition.”
ABC News reported on Monday night, “Tonight, China denying it test-fired a hypersonic missile, technology that would allow it to fire a nuclear warhead faster than anyone else.”