Max Baucus, the former ambassador to China during the Obama administration, criticized the United States' growing hawkishness toward China during a recent interview with a Chinese state media outlet, the Investigative Research Center reported Tuesday.
"I think the U.S. has been hypercritical of China … sometimes without any proof," Baucus told state outlet CGTN during a July 15 interview.
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Blaming the "toxic" political environment, Baucus said that "meaningful" policy decisions on China could not be accomplished before the November election.
"This is a political season in the U.S., and politicians are using China as a scapegoat to help them get elected," the former ambassador said.
Baucus has appeared in Chinese state media outlets on several occasions to criticize U.S. policy toward the Communist regime. In one interview, Baucus compared American politicians criticizing China to McCarthyism—a favorite talking point among Communist Party leadership.
"[Baucus's appearances in Chinese state media are] like going to China and … talking about your own government that way in meetings. I think that would be pretty inappropriate," Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Toward the end of his recent interview, Baucus imagined a future president Joe Biden strengthening U.S.-Chinese relations by visiting China and President Xi Jinping.
There is reason to speculate that Baucus may have a significant role in potentially setting Biden's China policy. Just before the Iowa caucuses in early February, Baucus endorsed Biden's presidential run. In 2013, then-vice president Biden "emerged as a chief advocate" for Baucus's nomination to his ambassadorship.
At the time, the nomination sent "shock waves" through the Senate, Politico reported.