Senator Josh Hawley was interrupted by a climate change protester, who said China was not the enemy, during his speech on foreign policy.
On Thursday, the Missouri Republican spoke at the Heritage Foundation, reiterating his calls for an end to the American aid to Ukraine and for the U.S. to focus on China instead.
However, during his speech, a Code Pink protester holding a sign that read “People & planet not war & aggression” took to the stage and told the audience, “China is not our enemy, the climate crisis is.” As the crowd chuckled and the protester was escorted off, she added, “We need to be this serious about the climate crisis.” Code Pink is an internationally-active, women-led, left-wing organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism.
After the protester was removed from the room, Hawley said, “It’s interesting this administration wants to use the climate crisis as a justification for its agenda in Ukraine and elsewhere. Maybe they oughta visit with that gal.”
The argument Hawley made on Thursday was not the first time he’s criticized the Biden administration’s handling of foreign affairs. In December, the senator wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, telling him, “You are prioritizing arms to Ukraine over our vital security interests in Asia. This is not a tenable position.”
Since then, warnings of an impending war between the U.S. and China have stirred up the defense community, prompting other Republicans to echo Hawley’s concerns.
Asked about a January memo predicting a war within two years from four-star Air Force General Mike Minihan, Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, previously told Newsweek that the U.S. is “way behind where we should be.”
The Department of Defense has refuted Minihan’s timeline, saying the possibility of war in 2025 is not representative of the department’s views.
In response to Thursday’s interruption, Hawley tweeted, “This was so fun.”
“Just saying out loud what Biden actually believes,” the senator wrote in one tweet, and adding, “Joe Biden’s next energy secretary” in another Tweet featuring a video of the protester being removed from stage. Reached for comment, his office told Newsweek to refer to his tweets.
During his speech, Hawley said that the U.S. is “over-committed” in the Ukraine-Russia war and that it should instead focus on deterring Beijing from seizing Taiwan—a policy he said “would put America’s interests first.”
“We have leaders on both parties, former NATO brass telling us that defending Ukraine is basically the same thing as deterring China,” the senator said. “The truth is we cannot defend Ukraine and stop China in Taiwan, and see to our own military requirements at the same time; we simply cannot do it all. And frankly, we shouldn’t have to,”
“Our current foreign policy is not working,” he added. “It has not worked for decades. It’s not working for our security. It’s not working for our economy. And above all, it is not working for the American people.”
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