ICYMI: When Asked to Explain Blatant Flip-Flop on China, Daines Campaign Silent [Montana Free Press]  

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ICYMI: When Asked to Explain Blatant Flip-Flop on China, Daines Campaign Silent [Montana Free Press]
 
Helena, MT – A new story in the Montana Free Press highlights Senator Steve Daines’ extensive ties to China, including working in the country “helping open factories” in the 1990s, and “traveling to the country several times” during his time in Washington D.C. “earning a nickname from a Chinese official as ‘China’s ambassador in Congress.’” Just last week, reports revealed Daines “repeatedly met with Chinese Communist Party officials on trips paid for by taxpayers — while avoiding town halls with his constituents back home.

In recent months, Daines has pivoted to tough-on-China messaging  following the guidance of Republican strategists who have encouraged vulnerable Senators to “blame China for the pandemic in their campaign messaging.” When asked to square Daines’ record of cozying up to China with his new harsh rhetoric, a campaign spokeswoman declined to respond.

Montana Free Press: The China conundrum
By: Chris Aadland

Highlights: 
 
“Bullock’s campaign has attacked a Daines voting record they say shows that the incumbent looks out for companies that outsource jobs to countries like China, and has used Daines’ previous work for a company that cut U.S. jobs and expanded into China to bolster their claims. Montana Democrats have amplified the message with video ads.
 

 
Before he entered politics, Daines worked for Procter & Gamble after graduating from Montana State University. Part of his tenure with the company included working in China, selling American products and helping open factories for the company.
 
His relationship with China continued as a U.S. senator, with Daines traveling to the country several times and earning a nickname from a Chinese official as “China’s ambassador in Congress” — a designation Democrats have used to attack Daines as being too cozy with the country.  
 
It’s true Daines worked for Procter & Gamble during years in which the company cut U.S. jobs and expanded in China, but the company has said the Democratic attacks, which date back to Daines’ first senatorial campaign in 2014, lack relevant context.  
 
… 
 
In fact, Republican Senate candidates across the country are being encouraged to blame China for the pandemic in their campaign messaging. A 57-page April memo prepared by Republican strategists and sent to senate candidates by the National Republican Senatorial Committee details how candidates should address the pandemic, including a recommendation that candidates claim China accidentally released the virus and then hid the severity of the problem and information about the virus from other countries. 
 
Earlier this week, Bullock’s campaign said in a press release that Daines’ shift to a tough-on-China stance is disingenuous given his work history with the country, which included a stint living in China. 
 
“Steve Daines’ election year pivot can’t cover up his extensive record of helping start factories in China while his employer slashed thousands of American jobs,” Bullock campaign spokesman Sean Manning said in a press release this week. “In the Senate, he voted to protect tax breaks for corporations that offshore American jobs to China. Montanans deserve a Senator who will look out for their interests first –– not big corporate interests that get rich offshoring American jobs.” 
 
In the race’s first debate earlier this month, Bullock again attacked Daines over his work in China for Procter & Gamble and said his record is evidence his policies would harm Montana workers. 
 
A Daines campaign spokeswoman hasn’t responded to questions from MTFP about his previous work on China-related issues and how voters should reconcile Daines’ past dealings with the country and his current pledge to be tough on China.”

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