Coronavirus

Obama’s China Ambassador Compares Trump’s Rhetoric Toward China to Hitler

Max Baucus says U.S. will ‘pay a price’ for ‘China-bashing’

Barack Obama's former China ambassador Max Baucus on Wednesday compared President Donald Trump's criticism of China to Hitler's political rhetoric.

"The administration's rhetoric is so strong against China, it's over the top. We're entering an era which is similar to Joe McCarthy back when he was red-baiting in the State Department and attacking communism, and a little bit like Hitler in the '30s," Baucus said on CNN International.

"Now in the United States, if anybody says anything reasonable about China, he or she feels intimidated, worried his head is going to be chopped off. Back in the '30s in Germany, it was very similar."

Baucus held the ambassadorship from 2014 to 2017 and, after Trump's election, he established business ties to China. He sits on the board of advisers for the Alibaba Group, one of China's largest technology firms, and is also on the board of directors of Ingram Micro, which was purchased by a Chinese company in 2016.

Baucus was a Montana senator from 1978 to 2014 before becoming the ambassador to China. He has endorsed Joe Biden for president.

Baucus warned Wednesday that the United States would "pay a price" if it continued in the direction of pre-war Nazi Germany by blaming China.

"I think we're moving in that direction. I'm not saying we're there yet," Baucus said. "But there are a lot of very responsible people in America who know that this China-bashing is irresponsible and we're going to pay a price the more it continues."

In late March, Baucus praised China's response to the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

"I think that the big lesson here [is] that when you take charge and when you tell the entire country, Wuhan, other provinces what to do, they get in gear and get the job done," Baucus said at the time. "I take my hat off to China for doing so."

The Chinese government downplayed the extent of the initial outbreak, cracked down on doctors who tried to sound the alarm, and has waged a propaganda campaign to deflect blame for the pandemic.