Rubio pushes back on Trump: ‘Crazy’ to allow ZTE to operate in US without tight restrictions

Rubio pushes back on Trump: ‘Crazy’ to allow ZTE to operate in US without tight restrictions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFlorida questions Senate chairman over claim that Russians have ‘penetrated’ election systems A paid leave plan cannot make you choose between kids or retirement New sanctions would hurt Russia — but hurt American industry more MORE (R-Fla.) early Monday pushed back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpAl Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'n-word' don't exist Trump wanted to require staffers to get permission before writing books: report MORE’s willingness to help a Chinese telecommunications maker currently sanctioned by the U.S. government.

“Problem with ZTE isn’t jobs & trade, it’s national security & espionage,” the senator wrote on Twitter.

“Any telecomm firm in #China can be forced to act as tool of Chinese espionage without any court order or any other review process. We are crazy to allow them to operate in U.S. without tighter restrictions” 


Trump in a tweet on Sunday promised to help President Xi Jinping put Chinese telecommunications maker ZTE “back into business." 

“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump said Sunday. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” 

The president later tried to assuage concerns, writing on Twitter that "it will all work out" on the trade front.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters then said Trump was highlighting the “importance of a free, fair, balanced, and mutually beneficial economic, trade and investment relationship” for the two nations.

“The administration is in contact with China on this issue, among others in the bilateral relationship,” Walters said in a statement. “President Trump expects Secretary Ross to exercise his independent judgment, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts.”

Last month, the Commerce Department barred American companies from selling to ZTE, saying the telecommunications firm violated U.S. sanctions. 

Rubio said in a subsequent tweet on Monday that he hopes Trump's comment about ZTE does not mean the U.S. is "backing down to China."

“While Chinese companies have unrestricted access to U.S. market & protection of our laws many U.S. companies have been ruined after #China blocked market access or stole their intellectual property,” Rubio added.