Rubio: Don't feel bad for ZTE or any Chinese company going out of business

Rubio: Don't feel bad for ZTE or any Chinese company going out of business
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Fla.) urged Americans on Wednesday not to "feel bad" for Chinese telecom giant ZTE after it announced that it would cease major operations, saying that the company and other Chinese firms had put "plenty of American companies out of business."

"Yet another example of #China trying to bully American companies. These guys play hard ball," Rubio tweeted, pointing to a Politico article about Chinese media outlets pressuring foreign airlines to identify Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as part of China.

"Do not feel bad for #ZTE or any Chinese company going out of business," he added. "They have put plenty of American companies out of business by stealing from them."

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Rubio's tweet was his latest taking aim at Chinese companies and Beijing's trade practices after the Trump administration backed off threats to impose additional steep tariffs on Chinese products over the weekend.

The Florida senator said in a tweet on Tuesday that China was "out-negotiating" the Trump administration, and had secured concessions from the U.S. "without giving up anything meaningful in return."

In a lengthy speech on the Senate Floor on Wednesday, Rubio put the issue of trade negotiations with China in more dire terms, saying that the U.S. had to crack down on Beijing's trade practices as a way to preserve democracy.

“Democracies are morally superior to dictatorships, and if we allow China to cheat and steal their way into dominance, there will be more dictatorships and less democracies on this planet, and we will all pay a price," he said.

Rubio cast doubt over the Trump administration's proposed deal with ZTE, calling it a "terrible" short-term fix for a long-term problem that could usher in the "beginning of the end of America's place in the world as its most influential nation."

"Most of us here do not want to live in a world [where] in 10 or 15 years ... some other country dominates the world ... because when they were displacing us, your policymakers were too busy arguing with each other and playing dumb, ridiculous games," he said.

ZTE announced earlier this month that it would cease major operations after the U.S. banned American companies from supplying the telecom giant. The ban came after the U.S. accused ZTE of violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE said in a tweet earlier this month that ZTE's failure had cost too many jobs in China, and pledged to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help the company recover.

The tweet was a surprise departure from Trump's "America first" rhetoric and insistence that Beijing's unfair trade practices had cost American jobs.