WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on Friday published an op-ed in USA Today blasting the Trump administration’s China policy. In the piece, Murphy makes the case that the president tries to act tough on China, but in reality his policies have strengthened Beijing’s hand at every turn.

Murphy wrote: Trump’s China policy has been a gold-leaf wrapped gift to Beijing, creating space for Xi to consolidate his power domestically and expand his influence abroad. And now, as Trump seeks to deflect attention from his catastrophic failure to lead a national response to COVID-19, he is cozying up to the China hawks. Trump is hoping no one will notice that he has been the best U.S. president for Chinese interests in our nation’s short history.”

Murphy cites the president’s disastrous trade policy that has strengthened President Xi’s economic posture, the administration’s actions that have pushed regional partners like Japan and South Korea closer to China while bolstering the hand of dictators like Duterte in the Philippines, and the U.S. decision to sit on the sidelines as China builds an international 5G information network. Murphy also lamented the Trump administration’s failure to address Beijing’s human rights abuses.

Murphy also blasted the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw funds for the World Health Organization, allowing China to fill the void: “Trump has thumbed his nose at America’s traditional leading role in fighting potential pandemics, consistently fighting for massive cuts to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the State Department. When the American seat on the WHO governing board became available, Trump just didn’t fill it. The WHO saw the writing on the wall, and when Beijing began to offer support (at the same time Trump was pulling away), the group unsurprisingly accepted the offer of a closer relationship.”

Similarly, when Trump announced the United States would withdraw all funding for the United Nations Population Fund, Xi committed to funding the establishment of 100 centers for maternal and child health in the developing world,” Murphy continued.

Murphy concluded: “As the president desperately grasps for alternative targets to blame for COVID-19 in the United States, Trump’s political allies have given notice that China will increasingly be in their crosshairs. And of course, China does bear serious blame for its unconscionable obfuscation of the origins of the new coronavirus.

Four more years of Trump’s disastrous China policy will likely help vault Beijing into a position of global prominence from which it may never be dislodged. If Trump wants to make China policy a centerpiece of the coming campaign, his opponents should welcome it,” said Murphy.

Click here to read the op-ed in full.