President Joe Biden infamously mocked the notion China was going "eat our lunch," but after one call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, the president is now admitting just that.
"If we don't get moving, they're going to eat our lunch," he told reporters Thursday morning in the Oval Office, describing Chinese plans to invest billions of dollars in rail projects, automobile manufacturing, and environmental improvements.
Biden had mocked President Donald Trump's efforts to confront China before he began his presidential campaign in May 2019:
"China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man."
Biden's flip came the morning after he spoke with the Chinese president for about two hours in a call Wednesday, vowing to push senators to pass a massive infrastructure spending plan.
"It used to be that infrastructure wasn't a Democratic or Republican issue," Biden said. "We're going to see what we can put together."
The discussion was "productive" and attendees "expressed a deep commitment" to working across party lines, the White House said in a release.
"It was very good, very good and one reason is that I've known the president forever, and we've worked together before," Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., told reporters later in the Senate.
Both Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have repeatedly advocated for an infrastructure program they call "build back better." At the same time, lawmakers who’ve been stymied in past efforts are also preparing to push a major national building program.
Buttigieg, who is in isolation after a member of his security detail tested positive for COVID-19, also participated in Thursday's meeting via video conference.
Information from Bloomberg was used in this report.
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