Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' It's time for 'Uncle Joe' to take off the gloves against Manchin and Sinema Democrats should ignore Senators Manchin and Sinema MORE (R-Ky.) is calling on President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE to publicly voice support for protesters in Hong Kong amid escalating tensions with the Chinese government.
“I would encourage this president, who has seen Chinese behavior for what it is with a clarity that others have lacked, not to shy away from speaking out on Hong Kong himself. The world should hear from him directly that the United States stands with these brave men and women," McConnell said from the Senate floor on Monday.
McConnell added that the administration should also "make Hong Kong’s autonomy a key topic within our bilateral diplomacy" with Beijing, and use an on-the-book sanctions law to slap financial penalties on "individuals responsible for egregious human rights abuses."
McConnell's comments follow rising violence in Hong Kong, including reports over the weekend that police officials have threatened to use lethal ammunition if protesters do not leave the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University amid a standoff. The Associated Press reported on Monday that riot police had trapped hundreds of protesters on the campus.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJames Elroy RischSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks Biden huddles with group of senators on Ukraine-Russia tensions MORE (R-Idaho) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPut partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (Fla.), a senior GOP member of the committee, have publicly urged McConnell to pass Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would slap sanctions on individuals who commit human rights abuses within Hong Kong.
McConnelll added on Monday that while he supports "additional legislation," the Trump administration doesn't "need to wait for new laws to act further. There are already significant tools at the administration’s disposal, and I strongly encourage them to use them."
Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Pence to deliver keynote at fundraising banquet for South Carolina-based pregnancy center Russia suggests military deployments to Cuba, Venezuela an option MORE said late last week that all options are on the table for U.S. intervention in Hong Kong if China uses military action against demonstrators.
“I just never foreclose any possibility for how President Trump might think about how we should appropriately respond,” he said.