Graham: America must 'accept the pain that comes with standing up to China'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk MORE (R-S.C.) said Sunday that the “pain that comes with standing up to China” was a necessary aspect of the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.

“Every Democrat and every Republican of note has said China cheats,” Graham, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE’s most vocal allies in the Senate, told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”

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“The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to. Now Trump is, and we just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China,” he added. “How do you get China to change without creating some pain on them and us? I don’t know.”

Asked if the ongoing conflict would place any burden on his own constituents, Graham responded, “Some,” adding, “Consumer prices on commodities are going to go up” as a result of tariffs on Chinese goods. However, he said, “until [the Chinese] feel the pain, they’re not going to stop. ... They never will until they feel a heavier price.”

Graham speculated the Chinese “made a calculation” to wait out the U.S.’s 2020 presidential election but speculated that “if Trump keeps piling on,” Beijing may not be capable of outwaiting the U.S.

“To my Democratic colleagues, he’s doing the things you’ve been calling for all these years,” Graham added.

Graham’s comments came shortly after Trump suggested he had “regrets” over the escalation of the trade war, with the White House putting a statement out shortly thereafter claiming Trump meant that he “regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”