Mike Pence Can ‘More Than Double’ Tariffs On China, But Right Now He’s More Concerned About Kawhi Leonard

Mike Pence isn’t good for much, but you can count on him for three things: 1) religious zealotry, 2) showing up places and being white, 3) delivering hawkish foreign policy speeches.

Don’t let it be lost on you that to the extent there’s an “economic cold war” between the US and China, it didn’t start with the Huawei ban on May 15. Rather, it started six months ago in Papua New Guinea, where Pence freaked everyone out by delivering a decidedly aggressive speech aimed directly at Xi Jinping. “We don’t offer constricting belts or a one-way road”, Mike said, mocking Xi’s pet project.

Read more: Mike Pence Goes To APEC, Shows Xi His Mean Face

Pence’s performance was in part responsible for the summit crashing and burning. At one point, Chinese delegates attempted to storm the office of Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister in an apparent effort to strong-arm the communique. Rumor has it the police were called. It was the first time in nearly three decades that the marquee Pacific Rim summits did not reach an agreement on a joint declaration. Thanks, Mike.

Then, in February, Pence went on another world tour with stops in Warsaw and eventually Munich. That didn’t go well either.

In one of the more awkward moments in recent geopolitical history, Pence attempted to stick the dismount in Warsaw by suggesting that if the European powers pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, it would bring peace to the Middle East. Mike pretty clearly assumed that was going to be an applause-generator, because he paused to soak in what he thought would be a ringing endorsement. Instead, he was met with deafening silence.


On Thursday, CNBC reported that Pence is preparing to deliver another one of his Mike specials to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“The remarks are expected to be a censure of China’s religious freedom and human rights record from one of the Trump administration’s highest ranking China hawks”, CNBC reports, citing two sources familiar with the vice president’s plans. The White House confirmed the speech, but not its contents.

CNBC goes on to make a connection between Pence’s upcoming speech and the Trump administration’s alleged plans to justify a Huawei-style ban on Hikvision by referencing the company’s involvement in human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Read more: Trump May Blacklist Chinese Video Surveillance Colossus, Because ‘Human Rights’ Or Whatever…

If Pence’s speech lives up to the billing, it will exacerbate tensions ahead of the G-20.

But that wasn’t the only Pence news on Thursday. Mike is in Canada where, prior to talks with Justin Trudeau, he pretended to care about the Toronto Raptors (they’re all set to be swept in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors – the first game of the series is Thursday night). Witness the cringe-worthy moment when Mike pretended to be human:


He also talked a bit about the fact that Canada is now embroiled in a bitter diplomatic row with China thanks to America’s efforts to enlist its northern neighbors in the kidnapping (basically) of Meng Wanzhou. That debacle has cost the Canadians dearly in terms of their relationship with Beijing. Indeed, China formally arrested Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig (read their story here) earlier this month. Pence weighed in on that Thursday.


Later, Pence got a little more specific when it comes to Beijing. During a joint press briefing, Mike said the US will pressure China to release Spavor and Kovrig and he called Huawei “incompatible” with America’s “security needs”.

But the real highlight was Pence insisting that the US can “more than double” tariffs on China if that turns out to be necessary.

Needless to say, that is not what anyone wants to hear, and it underscores a point that’s likely to come up again and again over the next several months. Pence relishes opportunities to prove his foreign policy bonafides and, as noted here at the outset, delivering needlessly hawkish speeches is one of the few things he’s good for. It sounds like his June speech has the potential to exacerbate tensions with Beijing and we may have gotten a preview of that on Thursday via Mike’s comments with Trudeau. Both men reiterated calls for China to release the two imprisoned Canadians, something Beijing would likely be more than happy to do – just as soon as Canada releases Meng.

Oh, and if you’re wondering whether Mike made the same corny joke about the Raptors during the press briefing, the answer is….

Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

5 thoughts on “Mike Pence Can ‘More Than Double’ Tariffs On China, But Right Now He’s More Concerned About Kawhi Leonard

  1. This literally DSM 5-infested sociopathic poltroon could not be more fecklessly bellicose – he’s like elevator Muzak at a UFC match. Oh – and just a pervasively rank asshole, of course.

    1. funny post Maggie. But I wish you would say how you really feel about Pence! (Maybe we shouldn’t impeach Trump after all)

  2. Hard to believe, but I’m pretty sure Pence is an animatronic experiment cooked up by Purdue grad students that escaped the lab. Okay, maybe not that hard to believe.

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints