Former Utah governor and GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman again criticized Mitt Romney’s harsh rhetoric toward China last night on CNN, calling it “typical” during a campaign.
Romney released an ad yesterday saying that he would get tough on China “on day one” of his presidency should he be elected. “President Romney stands up to China on trade and demands they play by the rules,” the ad says.
During an interview last night with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Huntsman — who has endorsed Romney for president — criticized the former Massachusetts governor and suggested he would pull back if elected:
HUNTSMAN: I think — this is a — this is a typical trajectory where during a campaign season you’re going to talk about China in ways that you’re hearing today. We’ve seen that election cycles gone by. They you get in office and I think Mitt Romney has the prospects of doing that which his most important for the U.S.-China relationship. Strengthening our own domestic economy and giving life and confidence to our creative class so we can get back on our feet.
If you want a strong U.S.-China relationship it starts right here at home and it starts with a stronger economy.
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Huntsman was less diplomatic in his criticism of Romney on China last February, referring to his China policy as “wrongheaded.”
But Huntsman isn’t the only Romney-backer to differ with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee on China. Earlier this month, right-wing foreign policy don Bill Kristol called Romney’s attacks on the Obama administration’s handling of an escalating situation with a Chinese dissident “foolish.”
Even Romney’s own foreign policy advisers have praised President Obama on China. “I think he has a good policy in Asia, particularly in dealing with China,” neoconservative Brookings scholar Robert Kagan said, adding, “I think he’s strengthened our position in Asia with our allies.”