‘Protect Our Homeland’: Pennsylvania's Dave McCormick Outlines Plan To Combat the CCP

Senate candidate calls for overhaul of U.S.-China relations, end to ‘China’s free ride’

(Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
December 7, 2023

Pennsylvania Republican Dave McCormick on Thursday unveiled his plan to "protect our homeland" and combat the Chinese Communist Party, with the Senate hopeful calling for using the American military to stop the flow of Chinese fentanyl and enacting other "dramatic policy changes."

McCormick, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) in 2024, laid out the plan during a speech in Philadelphia. The Republican detailed six policies to end "America’s failed engagement with the CCP," including a ban on U.S. investments in companies that work with China's military and the use of "military interdictions at sea" to target drug cartels smuggling Chinese fentanyl.

"To put it bluntly, China poses the gravest threat to our security and well-being since the end of World War II," McCormick said, "and our nation’s leaders, including career politicians like Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey, have gotten China wrong for more than two decades."

McCormick's speech comes roughly two months after the Pittsburgh-area native launched his campaign to unseat Casey, who has spent more than 15 years in the Senate. McCormick entered the race with widespread support from GOP leaders—support that will likely help him avoid the sort of messy primary battle he narrowly lost in 2022.

Former secretary of defense Mark Esper introduced McCormick on Thursday, highlighting the Senate hopeful's status as a West Point graduate and Army veteran. McCormick, who also served in the George W. Bush administration, ripped President Joe Biden for working to "appease" Chinese president Xi Jinping and said China must not be treated as a "partner who can be accommodated."

"As I’ve said for years, we need sober-minded leadership and clear ideas to ensure that America prevails over the long-term against the CCP," McCormick said. "Engaging them from a position of weakness will never work."

"This means we must reverse the erosion of American military strength; get Taiwan the capabilities it needs to defend against a potential Chinese invasion; deploy more U.S. forces to deter Xi from attacking our friends; and make historic investments in weapons production and shipbuilding in support of a larger blue-water navy."

McCormick also posed a series of questions for Casey, asking if the Democrat would "revoke the benefits of permanent normal trade relations for China" and "end any U.S. investment or trade that supports the Chinese Communist Party’s national security state."

McCormick last year ran to replace former Pennsylvania Republican senator Pat Toomey, a campaign that pitted him against celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in the GOP primary. The race divided Republican leaders, with former president Donald Trump backing Oz, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo endorsing McCormick, who lost by less than 1,000 votes.

Roughly one year later, McCormick enjoys unified support from party leaders in his second Senate bid. National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines (R., Mont.) endorsed McCormick following his campaign launch, as did Pennsylvania's entire Republican congressional delegation.