Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suggested that former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s experience as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, doesn’t give him the “breadth and depth of experience” it takes to be United States ambassador to China.
“Is Pete Buttigieg qualified for that role?” Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum asked Rubio during a Wednesday night interview on “The Story” after reciting a list of former President George H.W. Bush’s many accomplishments before becoming U.S. ambassador to China himself.
“No, he’s not,” Rubio responded. “It’s no disrespect towards the mayor of the city, but frankly, he just doesn’t have the breadth and depth of experience interacting with China.”
“It doesn’t mean he’s not qualified to be an ambassador somewhere,” he continued. “I just personally believe that when you are dealing with the second-largest economy in the world, the second most powerful military in the world and near-peer competitor of the United States, the country with whom the relationship we have will define the rest of the 21st century, I think it’s important that we send someone to that post that has some depth of understanding about all of the issues related to that country and our relationship with them.”
“Again, with all due respect to the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, I just don’t think that’s what gets you ready for it,” Rubio concluded. (RELATED: Buttigieg Rips Trump On China’s Human Rights Abuses, But Offers No Solutions)
The next U.S. ambassador to China will enter the post amid ongoing trade disputes and heightened tensions between the two countries resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.