Rep. Adam Kinzinger praised Donald Trump's choice for ambassador to China, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, and said the president-elect's phone call with Taiwan signals a change toward the U.S. being more assertive in its relationship with China.
"We hope to get along, but don't think you can march all over us like you've been doing," the Illinois Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program on Friday, referring to Trump's message to China.
Branstad, a longtime friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has a "depth of understanding of China," said Kinzinger and "I think he has a great understanding of just foreign affairs and the role of the United States.
"Being a governor, you learn how to deal with the bureaucracy of state. You learn how to deal with diplomatic relationships," he added.
Interviewer Melissa Francis said that Trump might be using his talk with the president of Taiwan as "something to tweak China a little bit." Kinzinger responded that it was a signal "there's a new sheriff in town," that the U.S. was going to stand up to China more often.
Kinzinger said he understands the relationship between China and the U.S. is sensitive and "this isn't something where you just come in willy-nilly and start throwing bombs and saying whatever."
China must not be allowed to exert their authority without a response, Kinzinger continued, "just because you're a powerful economy — not as powerful as ours — doesn't mean that we have to allow you to exert your hegemony in areas where our allies exist."
Trump is doing the opposite of President Barack Obama's administration policy of "eight years, in essence, of Chinese appeasement," Kinzinger said. "I don't think a call to Taiwan is going to lead to invasion of Taiwan. China knows better."
Last week, the House voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act. Part of it includes legislation Kinzinger developed to counter government propaganda from Russia, China, and other sources, according to a statement on his website.
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