Hardline on China a Trump accomplishment: Pompeo

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BY ARUL LOUIS
New York, Aug 26 (IANS)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the campaign against “the predatory aggression of the Chinese Communist Party” was an accomplishment of President Donald Trump, who will “not rest until justice is done”.
Recounting Trump’s foreign policy milestones, Pompeo told the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, “The president has held China accountable for covering up the China virus and allowing it to spread death and economic destruction in America and around the world. He will not rest until justice is done.”
“He has ended the ridiculously unfair trade arrangement with China that punched a hole in our economy,” Pompeo said.
The second day of the convention sought to dispel the image of antagonism towards immigrants and minorities and history of sexism through carefully crafted segments.
With shrines of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the background, Pompeo had recorded the speech from Jerusalem, where Trump controversially moved the US embassy. He listed that also as one of Trump’s accomplishments.
The setting up of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was another success of Trump, he said. Unlike many of his foreign policy initiatives, that received bipartisan support in the US.
He credited Trump for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table and “lowered the temperature”. Pyongyang has not conducted any long-range missile or nuclear tests since the talks between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo put a positive spin on Trump withdrawing from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, although it ended up with Washington’s international isolation as even its allies have refused to go along.
Pompeo, who is considered a potential candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, spoke at the convention defying Democratic Party criticism and setting aside what has been a convention of secretaries of state not participating in the meetings.
Democrats say it is a violation of a law that bars officials from partisan activities and have called for a Congressional investigation.
Pompeo defended his decision to speak at the convention saying that he was doing it on his own time and not using government facilities for it.
He tried not to be overtly partisan by avoiding any criticism of Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden or his party.
That was left to Trump and others.
The president warned the convention on Monday that if Biden wins, China will “own” the US.
Trump’s son Eric said on Tuesday, “Biden will be a pushover for China.”
Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general, said that Biden was supportive of Beijing and had said that the “Chinese are not competition” even while they were hollowing out US manufacturing.
She noted that his son Hunter had traveled with him on an official plane to Beijing and held meetings with Chinese Communist Party bankers for a deal that netted him millions.
Bondi also brought up Hunter Biden’s connection to a Ukrainian gas company that paid him tens of thousands of dollars to be a director even though he had no relevant business experience, and Biden as vice president pushing Kyiv to remove a prosecutor looking into the company.
Trump’s attempts to get Ukraine to investigate that connection led to the unsuccessful attempt by Democrats to remove him from office through impeachment.
On another foreign policy facet of Trump, Senator Rand Paul said that he was the first president in a generation to not start a war abroad and is committed to ending wars.
He said that Biden has consistently voted for wars — in Afghanisatn, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Balkans. If he is elected, he will “will spill our blood and treasure” in wars abroad,” he said.
Paul has been a critic of Trump and ran unsuccessfully against him for the Republican nomination in 2016.
A political maverick who had opposed almost singlehandedly Trump’s initiatives, he said that even though they don’t agree on everything, he concedes that Trump “gets things done”.
On the domestic front, Trump executed two made-for-camera actions that had an imperial flourish and were aimed at clarifying his positions relating mostly to minorities.
An Indian software developer, Sundari Narayanan, and four other legal immigrants were sworn in as citizens before him at the White House and he handed them their citizenship certificates.
He emphasised that they were legal immigrants who followed the law and he supports them, making a distinction with illegal immigrants in order to deflect the Democratic blanket criticism of Trump being anti-immigrant.
He issued a presidential pardon for a reformed bank robber, John Ponder who spoke of Trump’s help for rehabilitating prisoners.
That gave an opportunity to highlight his criminal law reform that undid the disproportionately harsh sentences given mostly to non-White people under a crime law drafted by Biden.
Paul said Trump’s law, the First Step Act, undid the harm that Biden had done to people of colour through the crime bill that he brags about.
Several African American politicians defended Trump against charges of racism and pointed to his economic and other policies that had benefited them. They also criticised the Democratic-backed movement against racism that has at time descended into violence and even destroying statues of African American leaders and anti-slavery activists.
allegation against Trump’s treatment of women and his disparaging of women with sexist talk was also countered. A video segment featured several women working for him, including Kellyanne Conway, the political strategist behind his last campaign who left the White House this week.
The narrator said that he has had more women on the presidential senior team than any other president, while women who have worked or still work for him said he selected them on merit and treated them professionally.
The convention was held mostly from Washington with live and pre-recorded segments.
Tuesday was also the family night in keeping with the tradition of spouses and children giving the portrait of the candidate as a family person.
First Lady Melania Trump and Trump’s children from earlier marriages, son Eric and daughter Tiffany, spoke.
In a gentle speech in which she gave reassuring messages about the Covid-19 pandemic, Melania Trump said she did not want to attack the other side as it only divides the nations further.
Unlike the Democratic Convention, the Republican event did not have showbiz people emceeing it or entertainers providing musical interludes.
Vice President Mike Pence narrated a long video segment interviewing like a journalist people who had benefited from Trump’s programs.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

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