Special to WorldTribune.com, December 27, 2020
Commentary by Joe Schaeffer
“They said China would become No. 1 and the U.S. would experience unavoidable decline…. Nearly everyone I met was a member of the Communist Party.”
These are the actual words of Rebecca Kleefisch in 2014, made while she served as lieutenant governor of Wisconsin. She was describing an official visit she undertook to the Asian superpower to deepen trade ties with her state.
And here is Kleefisch three years later, being quoted by the official communist state-media outlet China Daily:
It’s always better to have two teammates pulling in the same direction. It’s only going to further our bonds and economic ties…. We see China as a customer and a friend in our supply chain for years and years and years to come.
Rebecca Kleefisch is expected to be a leading Republican candidate for governor in Wisconsin in 2022.
Brazen Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is not the only American political official to be cultivated by China for the benefit of its despotic regime. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that the Chinese are specifically targeting U.S. governors via the National Governors Association. They have not had to struggle to find willing dance partners.
Related: Arizona Gov. Ducey to China: ‘Lots of opportunities’ to exploit ‘our defense industry, mining and ores’, December 20, 2020
There is a line of argumentation that posits that this canoodling with communism was done out of naivety several years ago at a time when doing business with China was “fashionable.” Kleefisch’s stunning admission should put such feeble retroactive scrubbing to rest. These elected officials chasing the filthy Chinese lucre knew exactly what they were doing and the grave potential national security consequences involved. They chose to do it anyway. They would love nothing more than to keep doing it today.
Kleefisch was Lt. Gov. of Wisconsin from 2011-2019. She has already laid significant groundwork for a run for governor in 2022. The attractive former TV news anchor is young (45) and female. She fits the dream image of what establishment Republicans love to foist on the party’s grassroots as candidates.
Kleefisch was prominently featured in a 2017 China Daily video titled “Cross Talk With U.S. Governors.” “We have a fantastic relationship with China” and “we’d like to see more investments” in Wisconsin by China are among the comments made by the beaming, perky Republican.
This video is a few years old, but the message is clear.
Some US governors are owned by China.https://t.co/QH7D0K9U7a
— Ron (@CodeMonkeyZ) December 9, 2020
In Dec. 2014, despite the anti-American recriminations she was personally subjected to in China, Kleefisch recapped her trip by penning a USA Today piece sunnily titled “I Found Wisconsin All Over China.” In this love letter she rhapsodized over how Wisconsin could help provide sensitive U.S. technology to the Red Chinese (bold added throughout rest of this column):
Indeed, there are American advances in science and biotechnology, equipment manufacturing and food products that the Chinese want and need for their people and their economy. As I return to Wisconsin, I’m excited about the doors opened on this mission.
An article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Dec. 19, 2014 – the very same day that Kleefisch’s mash note to China ran in USA Today – disclosed Kleefisch’s exposure to the dark side of China’s courting of America. It merits quoting at length:
For Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, a routine trade mission to China this month took a startling turn when officials at a Chinese national security think tank issued blunt pronouncements about Beijing’s ambitions and America’s future.
“They said China would become No. 1 and the U.S. would experience unavoidable decline,” Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch recounted on Friday after her 10-day visit to China’s mainland.
The think tank officials’ comments came during a visit by Kleefisch and other American politicians to the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, which Kleefisch described as a government-funded organization that’s meant to act as an adviser to the Chinese government.
The article continues:
Commenting on her Shanghai encounter, Kleefisch said she was taken aback by the forthrightness of the officials, who repeated their predictions more than once: “I was surprised by this conversation. I thought it was very candid and very overt. They actually used the word ‘decline.’ “
Kleefisch’s trip was organized by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, a Hong Kong-registered foundation founded by Tung Chee-hwa, the first Beijing-approved governor of Hong Kong after Britain transferred sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
The foundation invited eight state and local elected officials from across the U.S. to join the trip.
“Nearly everyone I met was a member of the Communist Party,” Kleefisch [said].
Any responsible American official would have been thoroughly chastened by such hostility coming from a foreign power seeking to embed itself in the United States. Yet what was Kleefisch’s response to all this? She didn’t bat a pretty little ex-TV news anchor eyelash as she moved to cement her cozy relationship with China over the remainder of her years in office.
From a China Daily article written three years later:
“Fantastic” and “growing” is how Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch describes the economic relationship between her state and China, which is its third-largest export destination behind Canada and Mexico.
There are half a dozen Chinese investments in Wisconsin, representing a $600 million investment and creating 1,300 jobs. “We also like to see more foreign direct investment,” Kleefisch said.
The state is looking to grow six areas: manufacturing, energy power and control, food and beverage, water technology, bioscience and aerospace.
Kleefisch emphasized the importance of keeping a “healthy relationship” with China.
“It’s always better to have two teammates pulling in the same direction. It’s only going to further our bonds and economic ties,” she said. “We see China as a customer and a friend in our supply chain for years and years and years to come.”
A 2017 China Daily interview clip with Kleefisch similarly showcases her eagerness to offer sensitive U.S. technology to the Chinese. She told the outlet:
“We do a lot in scientific machinery as well as industrial and electrical machinery in our exports from Wisconsin to China.”
Above all, Kleefisch wanted China to increase its activities inside the state of Wisconsin:
“I would like to continue to build good relationships…. But we would also as you might imagine like to see more foreign direct investment [in Wisconsin].”
Right up through the end of her tenure in 2019 Kleefisch could be seen continually trying to offer up cutting-edge technology to China. A 2018 post on the website of The Water Council, a Milwaukee-based organization “dedicated to solving critical global water challenges,” is titled “China Investment Corporation Visits Milwaukee.” The post reads:
On April 20, 2018, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation welcomed the China Investment Corporation Delegation to Wisconsin at the Global Water Center followed by a tour of Rockwell Automation down the street. The delegation heard from representatives from different industries that have headquarters in Wisconsin, along with Chinese companies located in Wisconsin.
China Investment Corporation is the official state-owned wealth management fund of the Chinese communist regime. Under a heading for this Milwaukee meeting labeled “Wisconsin Industry Participants” there is the following listing:
Aviation and Aerospace – Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch
Here’s some background on Wisconsin’s aerospace industry, courtesy of a 2016 article in the Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin has more than 200 companies with ties to the aerospace sector, including more than 140 suppliers to Boeing Corp.
More than 24,000 people are employed in Wisconsin by companies that support the aerospace sector, according to the [Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.].
“Many of Wisconsin’s aerospace companies are on the cutting edge of the industry and are developing technologies already in use worldwide,” Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said in a statement.
What kind of American can be told to her face – repeatedly – by foreigners representing a communist superpower that they relished the “unavoidable decline” of her country and then turn around and avidly work to offer aerospace, bioscience, electrical and industrial expertise to that same nation? No reasonable person would label such actions a “mistake.” A mature, soberminded people concerned with preserving its very existence would call it what it is… treason.
Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is another U.S. elected official featured in the China Daily “Cross Talk” video. He served as governor in the Bluegrass State from 2015-19. Bevin gave the closing remarks at the 2019 U.S.-China Governors Collaboration Summit, which was held in Lexington, placing Bevin in the role of host for the affair.
Bevin’s seething anger during his address is impossible to shrug off. His tone is that of deep resentment and condescension towards anyone who would dare question his close collaboration with China.
A pleased China General Chamber of Commerce – USA posted the speech in full onto YouTube:
Bevin displays his belligerently pro-China stance throughout the address. Some excerpts:
“I’m grateful for the fact that there has been media coverage but I would encourage all of you to recognize this, especially as it relates to what is going on in this country. I cannot speak for the Chinese media but I can speak for what happens in this country. There was a reporter here for the last two days, I don’t believe he’s here anymore, he might be. He works for The Washington Post. He wrote an article trying to undermine what is happening here. Trying to start a fight between governors and presidents, between leaders of governors in China and their president. Because what passes for media in this country is more about entertainment. This is not what I intended to talk about but this is to the heart of what we can do when we leave here.”
“But I believe the issues that face us nationally will be resolved. Because there is so much mutual benefit between our nations, between our people. Company to company, culture to culture, person to person. Look at the camaraderie that we have had in this last couple of days.
“And while people in this country who should know better want to try to stay viable, try to stay relevant, by dividing people, I would encourage all of you not to do so, not to allow this to happen.”
“We cannot allow the small minds to influence our thinking. We must not live down to the low expectation of small-minded people. We must rise up as ambassadors for what is the right thing to do.”
Bevin was understandably upset with Washington Post reporter Tim Craig, who, in a rare sign of journalistic professionalism for that disgrace of a newspaper, accurately detailed the governor’s shamefully intimate ties with the Red tyrants in China. From Craig’s article:
Under Bevin’s leadership, Kentucky has been at the forefront of spurring economic development from China, which is one of the largest buyers of the state’s exports. After his election in 2015, as a favorite of conservative tea party activists, he quickly began reaching out to Chinese officials, including a meeting last summer with Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai.
Bevin’s outreach earned him fawning coverage from Chinese media outlets. China Daily, a state-run English-language publication, published an editorial titled “Kentucky governor sets an example for rest of U.S. to follow in trade with China.”
In December, after he led a trade delegation to China, Bevin wrote an op-ed in China Daily. He noted that one of Kentucky’s most recognizable business franchises, Kentucky Fried Chicken, is flourishing in China, while Chinese companies directly employ more than 8,000 workers in the state.
You read that right. A sitting U.S. governor wrote an op-ed published in a Chinese communist propaganda outlet.
Here it is if you care to read it in full, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, which for several years “partnered” with the state-controlled news organ in a financially lucrative venture for the capitalist paper of record. The partnership apparently ended this summer following mounting criticism from opponents of the regime.
In the China Daily article referenced by Craig titled “Kentucky governor sets an example for rest of U.S. to follow in trade with China,” the full extent of Bevin’s madness is revealed:
Bevin said he would like to see 200 Chinese companies employing Kentucky residents in the next two decades….
Bevin’s antagonistic attitude against those who sought to shine a spotlight on his activities belies any suggestion that the attempted sellout of an entire state to a communist superpower under his stewardship had anything to do with naivety.
As Secretary Pompeo has stated, there are many more local politicians throughout America who have been seduced by the lure of Red Chinese money. Be they Republican or Democrat, if this nation is to survive they must be rooted out of our government wherever they are found.
Joe Schaeffer is the former Managing Editor of The Washington Times National Weekly Edition. His columns appear at WorldTribune.com and FreePressInternational.org.