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 RubioThe Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference MORE (R-Fla.) early Monday pushed back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US 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.