Trump congratulates China on anniversary as GOP lawmakers decry communist rule

Trump congratulates China on anniversary as GOP lawmakers decry communist rule
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE on Tuesday congratulated the People's Republic of China on its 70th anniversary in a sharp contrast from several Republican lawmakers who decried the legacy of the country's communist rule.

Tuesday marked 70 years since Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China after communist forces won a civil war in the country.

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Trump congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on the anniversary on Twitter. 

Several Republican lawmakers took a more adversarial tone than Trump in recognizing the anniversary, choosing instead to highlight the country's human rights abuses.

"I will pass," Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization Trump says he will designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations Texas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 MORE (R-Texas) tweeted in response to Trump.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran Pompeo: US ending sanctions waiver for site where Iran resumed uranium enrichment MORE (R-Wyo.) issued a somber statement saying it was "not a day for celebration."

"Since its founding, the People’s Republic of China has deprived its citizens of their fundamental human rights and human dignity," Cheney said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement that the Chinese Communist Party's methods are "not just a tragedy for more than a billion Chinese," but "also a telling indicator of the threat the PRC poses to its neighbors."

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseFCC votes to bar use of its funds to purchase Huawei, ZTE equipment Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition MORE (R-Neb.) and Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonTikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week Hillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats MORE (R-Ark.), a staunch Trump ally, cited China's ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as evidence of the country's repressive government.

"The Butchers of Beijing celebrate 70 years of communist tyranny by shooting a student marching for freedom in Hong Kong," Cotton tweeted. "What a sadly appropriate way to mark a dark, lamentable anniversary." 

Trump has made his relationship with China a cornerstone of his administration as he seeks a trade agreement with Beijing. The president previously delayed the implementation of increased tariffs on Chinese goods as a gesture of goodwill toward China.

Trump drew criticism for his response to protests in Hong Kong, where demonstrators have flooded the streets and other public places. The president has urged China to resolve the issue peacefully, but has not delivered a full-throated statement of support of the protesters.

He has also claimed that ongoing trade negotiations have helped limit potential violence.

Hong Kong police shot one protester in the chest during a demonstration on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

"This is what 70 years of Communist rule looks like in China—freedom is trampled and dissent is silenced," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Economy adds 266K jobs in November, blowing past expectations The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (R-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday afternoon, citing the shooting.

Some Trump administration officials, such as Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners Documentary groups challenge Trump administration's vetting of immigrants' social media Iran releases American graduate student in prisoner swap MORE, have spoken out about China's human rights abuses specifically related to Uighur Muslims.

Updated at 4:24 p.m.