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Washington – Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined the Hugh Hewitt Show this morning to discuss the threat posed to the United States by China and how the kind of defense cuts proposed by 50 House Democrats earlier this week would further jeopardize our security.  

Listen to the full interview here and there are relevant portions of the transcript included below:

Cheney: Cutting The Defense Budget Is A “Grave Mistake” That People Always Seem To Want To Repeat

HUGH HEWITT: 
Well, here’s the key question, Congresswoman. Nancy Pelosi only has a five vote, she might steal a sixth vote in Iowa, that’s a different subject, but she’s got a five or a six vote lead. Can you find five or six Democrats who are serious about Defense to plus up whatever budget President Biden sends?

REP. LIZ CHENEY: Well, if we don’t find five of them, then we’ll beat them in ’22, because you know, there were and are a number of my Democratic colleagues who during the Trump administration were very steadfast in maintaining positions in favor of a strong national defense. I am hopeful that they will continue to do that. I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to have that kind of support. I know that there will be tremendous pressure from Nancy Pelosi not to. We’ve already got a letter from 50 House Democrats saying we need to have a 10% cut in Defense spending. So I think it’s going to be, when you look at the trillions of dollars that we have appropriated, you know, over the course of the last month, you know, we are facing significant debt challenges that we have to address, and I’m sure people will attempt to address those on the back of the Defense budget, which is, you know, a grave mistake that always people seem to want to repeat. So we’d better be able to find Democrats to stand with us, and I’m confident the American people will be more than willing to replace their Democratic representatives with Republican ones if we can’t get Democrats with us.

Cheney: Participating In The Beijing Olympics Would Be “Whitewashing” The CCP’s Actions And Genocide

HEWITT
Now your colleague, Congressman Michael Waltz, and I always disclose my son works for him, so I’ll put that on the record, Congressman Waltz introduced a resolution to boycott, have the United States boycott the Beijing Olympics in 2022, the Winter Games. I think we ought to do that, and we ought to attach the messages to it with regards to the genocide, and I’ll be talking with Keith Krach about that at the bottom of the hour, but also about Taiwan. Do you A) support the Waltz resolution, and B) do you think we can begin to message about what the threat is? I don’t think the American people understand Xi at all.

REP. CHENEYYeah, I think you’re right. Number one, I do support that, and I know, I mean, I remember when we boycotted the Olympics, I guess it was the 1980 Olympics. And it’s terrible for our athletes. And I understand that. But what we’re facing right now, the alternative to boycotting the Olympics is participating in, would be participating in a show that essentially would be whitewashing what the Chinese Communist Party is doing around the world, and doing with respect to the Uyghurs, and I think that that would be wrong. So I do support Mike’s resolution. I think that’s important. And you’re absolutely right. You know, we have for too long been blinded and naïve about the threat from China. And we cannot continue down a path that allows them to make these huge strides while, you know, across the board, I sit on the Strategic Forces subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. And when you look at things like the importance of nuclear modernization and compare the strides the Chinese have made, and the strides the Russians have made, you know, it’s a dereliction of our responsibility for us not to be very focused on making sure that we continue to be able to defend ourselves. I mean, in some areas, we can’t even say we’re going to have superiority, or that we have superiority anymore. We can get back to it, but not with Defense cuts, not with the Defense straight line number, even.

Cheney: We Need A “Deterrence Structure” In Place To Counter The CCP’s Malign Activity, Offer Support For Taiwan, And Show Our Adversaries That We Will Back Up Our Words With Action

HEWITT: 
Let me bring up a conversation I had just yesterday, Representative Cheney, with a senior East Asian diplomat from one of the frontline countries facing the Chinese Communist Party. It is the opinion of this diplomat that General-Secretary Xi intends to occupy Taiwan by 2027, that he’s moved up his timetable, that it’s a real threat, that the conflict there is real, and the ambition there is real. I don’t think most Americans think about that. What do you think of that estimate of the Xi schedule?

REP. CHENEY: I think that that is accurate. I think that it points to how crucially important it is that we have the kind of deterrence structure in place, and the kind of deterrence both in terms of our capabilities and also in terms of the Biden administration taking a much clearer and harder line approach in terms of letting the government of China know that we’re going to stand up for our allies, that we are making investments in the kinds of technology and the kind of systems necessary to be able to do that, that we know and we have learned through long history that weakness is provocative. And if the Chinese Communist Party sees, for example, the Biden administration produce a Defense budget that includes cuts or even that includes straight line funding, I think they will take from that that we’re not serious, that our rhetoric doesn’t match the investments we’re willing to make, and certainly the investments the Chinese government has been making, demonstrate that they’ve got the determination to modernize. And we have to make sure we can protect ourselves and our allies.

HEWITT: Now Liz Cheney, what do we actually do? I had a long conversation with this diplomat about it, saying you know, I haven’t thought this through, because it seems so remote a possibility. But after Hong Kong, and the diplomat suggested don’t look for a channel crossing, don’t look for the Taiwan Strait to be full of ships. They will do what they did in Hong Kong, infiltrate a bunch of special operators, foment unrest, and then simply strike quickly. What would we do? How do we prevent that?

REP. CHENEY: Well, I think first of all, we have to be working very closely with the government of Taiwan. And the government of Taiwan recognizes and understands that threat in a way that is different than the situation with respect to Hong Kong. So working with Taiwan, working with our other allies in the region, fully funding things like the Pacific Defense Initiative, I mean, I think that it’s really important. You know, in some ways, after the end of the Cold War, we really lost sort of the skills, in some ways, of thinking about deterrence. And people have forgotten what deterrence really means and why it’s so important to our security. And what deterrence means, demonstrating not just through words, you know, not just saying we will be there, we will defend you, we’ll protect you, but making clear our adversaries have no doubt that we actually have the means to carry out those words, the means to defend our allies. And one of the problems that we have in both parties is this growing isolationist tendency, this growing notion that America can be safe if we just simply, you know, bring everybody home, or if we simply just turn inward. And that is very dangerous. It’s not true when Democrats say it, it’s not true when Republicans say it. And we know from history that the world requires the United States being willing to work with our allies to stand up for freedom and to set the rules of the road. And we’ve got to make sure that we continue to do that in the Biden administration.

Cheney: The Biden Administration Needs To Have A “Better Understanding” Of The Threat China Poses

HEWITT: 
Representative Cheney, yesterday there was a summit in Alaska. Tony Blinken and others meeting with Chinese counterparts, very vague at the end of that. What did you expect to come out of that, if anything?

REP. CHENEY: Well, I think that it’s very clear the Biden administration needs a better understanding, a more realistic understanding of the threat that China poses. And I think that part of what you saw yesterday was the Chinese Communist Party, you know, attempting to flex its muscles on the world stage, and recognizing and understanding that they can’t actually compete, you know, in the marketplace of ideas. And so, you know, you saw sort of their, I don’t know what that was exactly, kind of showmanship. But the reality is that we all need to come together. There’s a report that came out yesterday in London about the smart cities technology, for example, and what the Chinese government is doing to export that technology and the threat that it poses. We all think it’s so great when you’re able to have security cameras or Alexa, all those things in your home. And I think everybody needs to recognize and understand the danger and the threat when that technology in some cases is being produced by the Chinese government. So that’s just one example of the threat.

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