Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., on Monday decried the "criminalization of civil behavior" in the United States.
In an interview on Newsmax TV's "Wake Up America," Tenney, fresh from a trip overseas that included a visit to Taiwan, said the behavior is not just evident in authoritarian countries overseas.
"Everyone is obsessed right now with this criminalization of civil behavior that's something authoritarian regimes like China do," she said, adding, "we see this creating the relentless assault on [former] President [Donald] Trump and everything Trump and any Trump supporter. I find it really disturbing."
Tenney noted that "even flying into Taiwan — just the lockdowns and the kind of the lack of freedom that you feel sometimes especially dealing with COVID.
"Everything was masked in China and flying back in the United States, you still get that sense of freedom, even though Taiwan compared to the People's Republic of China, and the mainland is a democracy, you feel that oppression. ... It really concerns me, this authoritarianism. The criminalization of civil behavior by Merrick Garland or FBI ... really concerns me."
Tenney dismissed the speculation bubbling up over Trump's hush-hush visit to Washington, D.C., on Sunday, saying, "I think the president likes the mystery."
"I'm wondering if maybe he's heading to London to go participate in with the Queen's funeral and that type of situation. I really don't know," she said.
"There's been a lot of speculation about this. Here we are five weeks removed from the raid on Mar-a-Lago — is he meeting with attorneys about the special master? I read a report that said that he's going to Walter Reed [hospital] to get a COVID booster because he's afraid of being poisoned or something like that," she said referring to speculation reviewed in a Raw Story report.
"But he's only been back in D.C. once since leaving office and the speculation is rampant. Nobody seems to know why the 45th president is in our nation's capital right now. Curious."
Tenney had high praise for Taiwan's independence and vigor — and bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) visit there as "all about" herself.
"Although they called themselves the Republic of China, they really do have a unique democracy in the midst of China's aggression all around that region of the world, which is why we also visited South Korea," Tenney said of the tour.
"And we visited Mongolia, of all the places, the country sandwiched between authoritarian Russia and authoritarian China.
"It was great to be back again to see just what a great example of Taiwan is. And how under siege they are by the People's Republic. I'm glad that some Republican members from the House are finally visiting. I wish that Nancy Pelosi made her visit five weeks ago more bipartisan. I think that would have had an even bigger effect. But she made it about herself."
Tenney also justified military support for Taiwan given current tensions.
"We have the Taiwan Relations Act, which actually authorizes the United States to provide defensive strength and defensive weapons to Taiwan in the event that China continues to show aggression towards Taiwan there," she said.
"They've been doing military exercises in the strait and near in that region. They've been projecting a lot of hostility towards members of Congress.
"But this is a really important part of the world where we see vibrancy and democracy which we need to protect and to ... flourish in a part of the country and part of the world where you're seeing authoritarianism.
"Taiwan is a fascinating place. Very modern. The people really appreciate the fact that they are able to elect their leaders."
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Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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