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WATCH: Tom Cotton Shreds Coca-Cola In Explosive Hearing For Refusing To Condemn Communist China

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks during U.S. Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Garland was previously the Chief Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and former President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court.
Demetrius Freeman-Pool / Getty Images

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tore into Paul Lalli, Coca-Cola’s Global Vice President for Human Rights, during a Senate hearing on Tuesday over the company’s refusal to speak out about the genocide that China is committing after the company weighed in on local political matters earlier this year.

Cotton posted a video of the question, writing that Coca-Cola would not “condemn the Chinese Communist Party for committing genocide” and that the company would “support the Winter Olympics in Beijing.”

“You see this is what I’m talking about,” Cotton said to Lalli after Lalli refused to condemn the Chinese Communist Party. “Under questioning from Senator Merkley, and Representative McGovern, and Representative Chris Smith, every single one of you refused to say a single word by all appearances that will cost you one bit of market share inside of mainland China. Mr. Lalli, for instance, you were asked if Coca Cola would call for the IOC, to delay the Chinese Olympics to give a chance for them to be rebid or for China to stop its genocide against its own people and you said that Coca Cola quote, I think is your exact words, quote, ‘doesn’t have a say,’ end quote. So, can you tell me why Coca Cola doesn’t have a say in whether it[] sponsors the genocide Olympics next year, but it does have a say and how the state of Georgia runs its election laws?”

“Senator, what I stated was that we do not have a say in the selection of the host city, nor on whether an Olympics is postponed or relocated,” Lalli responded.

“Yeah, so you don’t, but you could just make a statement,” Cotton said. “Your CEO could saddle up the same moral high horse that he got on when Georgia passed its election law and write a letter to the IOC and ask them to, anybody can do that. If he’s an American citizen, that’s his right under our Constitution.”

Lalli claimed that Coca-Cola was “most engaged on policy issues here at home,” which led Cotton to ask: “Can you can you explain to me why James Quincy, will … denounce a democratically elected legislature’s laws, but he will not simply say that the IOC should consider rebidding its Olympics or that Coca Cola should consider sponsoring the genocide Olympics? What’s the difference there?”

“Our role as a sponsor is to support and follow the athletes,” Lalli responded.

“So, you’re sponsoring the genocide Olympics, you are spending millions of dollars to sponsor the genocide Olympics,” Cotton said. “Yet you will not opine on any matter about it, that you will stick your nose in the Georgia legislature’s election reform laws. Can you explain to me the contrast?”

“I think the answer is, you are afraid of the Chinese Communist Party, you’re afraid of what they will do to your company, if you say a single word, like for instance, saying that both the Biden and the Trump administration are correct when they say that China is committing a genocide against its own,” Cotton later added.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): So your company said at the time that we will continue to stand up for what is right in Georgia and across the United States. So are we to take from your that statement at the time that Coca Cola will not stand up for what is right outside the United States? Because that’s what it sounds like this morning in this testimony.

PAUL LALLI, COCA-COLA’S GLOBAL VICE PRESIDENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: No, Senator, we stand up for what is right across the world. We apply the same human rights principles in the United States that we do across the world.

COTTON: Do you believe that the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against the Uyghur people?

LALLI: We’re aware of the reports of the State Department on this issue as well. There are other departments of the U.S. government. We respect those reports. They continue to inform our program, as do reports from other from civil society.

COTTON: You see this is what I’m talking about. Under questioning from Senator Merkley, and Representative McGovern, and Representative Chris Smith, every single one of you refused to say a single word by all appearances that will cost you one bit of market share inside of mainland China. Mr. Lalli, for instance, you were asked if Coca Cola would call for the IOC, to delay the Chinese Olympics to give a chance for them to be rebid or for China to stop its genocide against its own people and you said that Coca Cola quote, I think is your exact words, quote, ‘doesn’t have a say,’ end quote. So, can you tell me why Coca Cola doesn’t have a say in whether it’s sponsors the genocide Olympics next year, but it does have a say and how the state of Georgia runs its election laws?

LALLI: Senator, what I stated was that we do not have a say in the selection of the host city, nor on whether an Olympics is postponed or relocated.

COTTON: Yeah, so you don’t, but you could just make a statement. Your CEO could saddle up the same moral high horse that he got on when Georgia passed its election law and write a letter to the IOC and ask them to, anybody can do that. If he’s an American citizen, that’s his right under our Constitution.

LALLI: As I stated, we are most engaged on policy issues here at home. But we are clear in our respect for human rights globally.

COTTON: Can you can you explain to me why James Quincy, will … denounce a democratically elected legislature’s laws, but he will not simply say that the IOC should consider rebidding its Olympics or that Coca Cola should consider sponsoring the genocide Olympics? What’s the difference there?

LALLI: Our role as a sponsor is to support and follow the athletes.

COTTON: So, you’re sponsoring the genocide Olympics, you are spending millions of dollars to sponsor the genocide Olympics. Yet you will not opine on any matter about it, that you will stick your nose in the Georgia legislature’s election reform laws. Can you explain to me the contrast?

LALLI: First, let me say that we do not make decisions on these host locations we support and follow the athletes wherever they compete.

COTTON: Yeah, no, I’ve heard your talking points. And I’m tired of hearing them, Mr. Lalli. I’m asking you a simple question. Why is it that Coca Cola will opine on Georgia’s election laws, but not on the genocide Olympics?

LALLI: As I’ve stated, of Georgia is our home, it’s where many of our employees live and work. And we are most engaged on public policy issues here in the US.

COTTON: I think the answer is, you are afraid of the Chinese Communist Party, you’re afraid of what they will do to your company, if you say a single word, like for instance, saying that both the Biden and the Trump administration are correct when they say that China is committing a genocide against its own.

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