In his book Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win, Peter Schweizer attacks all those American politicians that have used their positions of power to profit off of China. From Joe Biden to Dianne Feinstein, many Democrats are implicated, as are many corrupt DC oligarchs and their armies of lobbyists.
But Republicans are too, namely the RINO variety. In particular, Mitch McConnell, the RINO known for backing down to Democrats on budget issues.
Schweizer’s attack on Mitch McConnell begins in the 90s, when China was opening up and McConnell was (relatively) young and looking to make his fortune. Thanks to his wife, Mitch found himself in China and meeting Red Chinese oligarchs, legitimizing their rule and helping the police state move on from the Tiananmen Square massacre. In Schweizer’s words:
In 1993, months after Senator Mitch McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, were married, the senator from Kentucky found himself in Beijing. But this was no typical honeymoon. He was traveling with his wife and new father-in-law, James Chao, and they had a series of private meetings with senior Chinese officials, including Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Jiang and James Chao had been classmates in China decades earlier. The meetings were a major publicity coup for Beijing. Tiananmen Square had happened years earlier and few American political figures were visiting the country. McConnell was only the second Republican U.S. senator to do so.
And that trip blossomed into a fruitful (for China and Mitch, not America) relationship. Schweizer describes Mitch’s ties to China as quite deep, saying that despite his occasional anti-China rhetoric, Mitch has some of the deepest China ties in DC:
While Senator Feinstein has been remarkably pro-Beijing in her public statements about China, Senator McConnell has been more balanced. But let there be no doubt: the senator from Kentucky and his wife enjoy some of the deepest and most abiding ties to Beijing-linked entities of anyone in Washington, D.C.
Why? Because his wife, Elaine Chow, former transportation secretary, orders ships from Red Chinese shipbuilders rather than from American or allied companies, helping prop up a state-owned enterprise that builds the same Chinese naval vessels that might one day be used to kill our sailors or invade Taiwan:
The Chao family first started ordering ships from China in 1990. After that 1993 visit with Senator McConnell, their partnership blossomed. From 2001 to 2011, Foremost received ten mammoth ships from Chinese state-controlled shipbuilders.
[…] In short, the Chinese government is building the Chaos’ ships, financing their construction, and providing crews and customers for the family. Who exactly is CSSC, which plays such a central role in the financial fortunes of the McConnell-Chao family? CSSC is a state-owned defense conglomerate, and also one of “the world’s most prolific builders of large surface combatants and submarines.” The Chaos’ family business is interested in civilian not military shipping. But in China, the two are deeply intertwined. Daniel Alderman of Defense Group Inc. and Rush Doshi of Harvard University wrote of China’s shipbuilding industry generally and CSSC specifically that the Chinese government “views civilian shipbuilding as essential to and intertwined with military shipbuilding.” They say, “China’s promotion and protection of advanced civilian facilities are likely related to its military purposes.”
What that relationship means is that Mitch McConnell is compromised by China; if he speaks out too loudly, all those deals could go up in flames and his fortune along with them. As Schweizer says:
Senator McConnell has spoken out about Beijing’s military expansion and human rights, but has been leery of legislation that would restrict commerce with China. He has long supported the view that free trade would mean a freer China But there can be little doubt that the McConnell-Chao family business fortunes could be disrupted overnight if Beijing looked with too much disfavor at the policy positions he takes toward China.
Our politicians are supposed to set the country up for success, not run it and its critical industries (such as shipbuilding) into the ground while profiting off relationships with an enemy power. Yet that appears to be just what Mitch “the RINO” McConnell is up to.