A top Senate Democrat backed President Donald Trump's confrontation of China over its trade practices and criticized American companies for sacrificing "their values" to appease the communist regime.
Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) told CNBC Tuesday that he supports the president for confronting the Chinese regime over its trade practices, but was critical about how Trump has handled the dispute.
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"I think the mission is right. I don't find a lot of places where I agree with Donald Trump," Warner said. "I think the missed opportunity would be to have rallied the world and go to China and say, ‘You're a great nation and you're one of the leading economic powers in the 21st century, but you got to play by the same set of rules.'"
Warner praised Trump for recognizing the threat that Huawei, a Chinese multinational telecommunication giant, poses to the international market. The Trump administration, as well as several other western countries, has sanctioned the government-linked tech corporation due to concerns that its equipment could be used by the Chinese regime for spying.
Those efforts could be undermined by American telecommunications giants. On Friday, Reuters reported that the company is in the early stages of talks with American companies to license its 5G network. Warner accused American companies of compromising their values in order to appeal to China.
"I think American companies and, for that matter, Western companies for years have been willing to sacrifice their values, their principles to get access to the Chinese market," Warner said. "I think that's starting to come back and bite them now."
He pointed to human rights concerns in China, including the internment of more than one million Muslim Uyghurs and the Hong Kong protests.
"This is a case where not only American companies but Western companies that operate under rule of law need to come together and say they're not going to abide by Chinese correctness or they're not going to abide by China, frankly, misplaying all the rules," he added.