Democrats erupt with fury after Republican questions ‘loyalty’ of Rep. Chu
House Democrats are up in arms after a GOP lawmaker suggested Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), the nation’s first Chinese American congresswoman, is disloyal to the United States.
Rep. Lance Gooden, a third-term Texas Republican, suggested this week that Chu should be denied access to sensitive classified materials — and investigated — after she defended Dominic Ng, President Biden’s selection to lead U.S. trade interests in Asia, from accusations that Ng is working on behalf of communist leaders in Beijing.
“I question her either loyalty or competence,” Gooden told Fox News on Wednesday. “If she doesn’t realize what’s going on then she’s totally out of touch with one of her core constituencies.”
Chu issued a statement Thursday calling Gooden’s remarks “racist,” and her Democratic allies in the House are now rushing to Chu’s defense and demanding an apology from Gooden.
“At a time when anti-Asian hate continues to threaten communities, it’s critical that we condemn these racist and xenophobic attacks immediately and hold our fellow colleagues accountable to rid our politics of such dangerous statements and hatred,” Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), head of the Democrats’ campaign arm, said Friday in a statement.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) also blasted Gooden, suggesting the Texas Republican was disloyal himself for siding with the majority of House Republicans who had voted in 2021 to overturn the presidential election results in favor of President Trump.
“Lance Gooden’s slanderous accusation of disloyalty against Rep. Chu is dangerous, unconscionable and xenophobic,” Jeffries said Thursday in a statement. “Congressman Gooden appears to sympathize with violent insurrectionists and spreads big lies to the American people, having voted not to certify the election of President Joe Biden. Look in the mirror, Lance. You have zero credibility.”
Gooden quickly responded by doubling down and accusing both Jeffries and Chu of disloyalty.
“Rather than following facts that indicate the presence of Chinese espionage, Chu and Jeffries are playing the race card in a sick display of disloyalty to our nation,” Gooden said in an email.
The accusations are reminiscent of the Republicans’ charges against another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), whose association with a suspected Chinese spy in 2014 led Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to block Swalwell from serving on the Intelligence Committee this Congress.
The controversy swirling around Ng, a wealthy banker and Democratic donor whom Biden appointed last year to represent the U.S. on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), began earlier this month when the Daily Caller News Foundation reported allegations that Ng was tied to a pair of “front groups” gathering intelligence for the Chinese Communist Party.
The report sparked an outcry from Gooden and other Republicans, who are demanding an FBI investigation into Ng and questioning the vetting process that preceded Biden’s decision to appoint him to APEC. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Republicans suggested Ng may have violated the Espionage Act.
The GOP letter prompted its own response from Democratic leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, headed by Chu, who issued a statement last week defending Ng as a patriotic American being smeared by Republican “profiling.”
“No Chinese Americans — indeed no Americans — should face suspicions of disloyalty or treason based on their ethnicity, nation of origin, or that of their family members,” the Democrats said.
Aside from Chu, the statement was also endorsed by Reps. Grace Meng (N.Y.), Mark Takano (Calif.) and Ted Lieu (Calif.), the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus.
That defense prompted Gooden to go after those Democrats during his Fox News appearance on Wednesday, when he characterized Chu as “the ringleader” who “drug along” the other three signatories.
“We’re standing up to communist China and these Democrats’ first reaction is to come to their defense and call us all racists,” Gooden said. “I’m really disappointed and shocked that someone like Judy Chu would have a security clearance and be entitled to confidential intelligence briefings until this is figured out.”
The tense back-and-forth comes as lawmakers in both parties are taking steps to limit the power and influence of Beijing around the world — an effort that’s grown more urgent given China’s ties to Russia and the mounting concerns that Beijing might expand its assistance to Moscow amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
–Updated at 11:54 a.m.
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