North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum played up his posture as a China hawk as he looked to draw voter support for his long-shot White House bid.
“We are in a cold war in China, we just won’t admit it,” the Republican said in an interview to air Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But the way you work your way through a cold war is you win it economically.”
Burgum’s comments came just as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen makes her way home from a trip to Beijing, where she met with Chinese officials, including Vice Premier He Lifeng and People’s Bank of China Head Pan Gongsheng.
The conversations she had were “direct, substantive and productive,” Yellen said at a Sunday morning news conference in Beijing. Yellen is the second Cabinet official to visit the country in recent weeks, following a highly anticipated trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month.
Burgum, a relative unknown in the crowded GOP presidential field, has gone on an ad blitz in key early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. In one early ad titled “Why.” Burgum highlighted U.S.-China relations as a key pillar of his campaign.
“Why run? First, fix this crazy economy. Second, unleash American energy production. Third, rebuild our military to win the Cold War with China,” Burgum says in the clip.
On Sunday, the multimillionaire ex-software executive also knocked former President Donald Trump, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd he would not do business with the GOP front-runner. When Todd pressed him on why, Burgum replied: “I just think that it’s important that you’re judged by the company you keep.”
Burgum also talked about his stance on abortion, one of more dedicate issues the GOP field faces, saying he did not support a federal ban.
“My position is that I support the Dobbs decision, and this is the decision that should be left to the states,” Burgum said. “And what’s going to pass in North Dakota is not ever going to pass in California and New York, and wouldn’t even pass in the state of Minnesota. … That’s why I’m on the record saying that I would not sign a federal abortion ban.”
Abortion and other culture-war issues, like legislation limiting the rights of transgender people, shouldn’t be the focus of the commander-in-chief, Burgum said.
“We need a president that’s focused on the challenges that we’re being faced as a nation — not a president that’s going to decide whether a book is in the right section or not in a library in a small town somewhere in America.”
“It’s definitely not the place where the president should be spending their time,” he added.
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