FIRST ON FOX: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is slamming Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) for ending its “China Initiative” amid the Russia-Ukraine war, which he says projects weakness toward America’s enemies.
Schmitt, who is running in a crowded primary race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Tuesday, warning that the Biden administration’s decision to end the initiative is dangerous and detrimental to U.S. national security.
“The world is a dangerous place and liberty is not preserved with pandering and political correctness,” Schmitt’s letter exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital states. “This decision by President Biden and his senior leadership projects weakness, emboldens our enemies, makes our country less safe and puts at risk the personal security of each and every American citizen.”
Last month, DOJ announced that it is ending its “China Initiative” program that was aimed at preventing spying by the Chinese Communist Party and launching a new, “broader approach.”
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The China Initiative was started in 2018 under the former Trump administration to protect U.S. national security against Chinese spying on U.S. intellectual property and in academia. The initiative was aimed at “identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking, and economic espionage,” as well as “protecting our critical infrastructure against external threats through foreign direct investment and supply chain compromises.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden administration had been under pressure from activists and faculty at some universities over the effort. They said it was harming U.S. competitiveness in research and disproportionately targeting people based on race.
However, Schmitt called Garland’s actions “misguided attempts to play politics while real threats gather on the horizon undermine our nation’s security.”
“[Top] leaders from the White House to senior military commanders continue to weaken our readiness by pandering to radical elements of the political left. Rather than training to meet and defeat our enemies these leaders push radical wokism and critical race theory,” he stated, also pointing to the Biden administration’s public list of threats and espionage efforts by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“The PRC is motivated by a virulent communist ideology with its fundamental disregard for the rights of any individual. Add to this that the PRC is actively building up its military with increasingly advanced weapons systems. This, coupled with its nuclear capabilities, leaves no doubt that the PRC represents a threat that is like no other in the current geopolitical makeup of the world,” says Schmitt.
He also points to China’s aggressive posture toward the people in Taiwan.
Schmitt also told Fox News Digital during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week called it another “wrong move” in a series of recent mistakes on the part of DOJ.
“We need to view China for what it is: our biggest threat economically, militarily. And the DOJ’s virtue signaling here is the wrong move. I mean, they’ve had a series of wrong moves, including, by the way, sticking the FBI on parents who show up to local school board meetings under the auspices of the PATRIOT Act. And so I think we need to continue to be tough on China.”
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He continued, “I’m the attorney general that filed the lawsuit against communist China for unleashing the coronavirus on the world. And so we need to keep that in mind every single day.”
In 2020, Schmitt led Missouri in becoming the first state to sue the Chinese government for serious economic losses over the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
DOJ did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Schmitt’s letter.
Fox News’ Aubrie Spady and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.