A congressional hearing on President Biden’s trade policy got heated Friday when U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told a GOP lawmaker, “I don’t need your pity,” after he said she was “too nice” to negotiate trade deals for the U.S.
Tai came before the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee to defend Biden’s agenda on trade for 2023.
At one point during the questioning, Representative Greg Murphy, R-N.C., told Tai that she was “very highly spoken of,” but then added, “I personally think you’re too nice a person for the job that you’re in.”
“I think you’re handicapped because of administrative folks that you have to report to, etc., that are handicapping you and your job. Negotiators are usually very, very tough, and sometimes mean people. They aren’t nice people like you are,” Murphy said.
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“If you look at what’s happened with us, we are absolutely handcuffing the United States,” he added, accusing the Democratic administration of focusing more on green energy while China expands its influence on the world’s fossil fuel sectors.
“If you look at what we’re doing to the United States, all we’re doing is giving the open door for China.
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“And you’re stuck. Personally, I feel sorry for you, you’re stuck in the middle of it. … It’s just an absolute frustration because you just see this country swirling down the drain because we’re just so distracted with so many other different issues that China doesn’t give a damn about… they are just swarming over the rest of the world with influence,” Murphy said.
Tai responded that she had “never been faulted for being too nice.”
“You have too nice a smile,” Murphy interjected.
The Biden official added, “I also don’t need you to feel sorry for me, so please don’t do that.”
Murphy repeated, “I feel like you’ve been put in a tough spot, personally.”
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Tai shot back, “Well, let me just take off the nice a little bit.”
“I don’t need your pity. I stand up for the American people. When I speak, people listen, because I represent the interests of the United States,” the trade adviser said.
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Representative Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, later confronted Tai with her own questions when grilling her on “standing up” for American interests in Mexico amid a dispute over Mexico’s ban on genetically modified U.S. corn.
“I appreciate you saying, you know, you’re going to be a strong voice, and when you speak, people listen, and that you are standing up for the United States. Where are you in Mexico?” Van Duyne asked. “Are you standing up for the working families… whose livelihood is being threatened because President Obrador is falsely attacking them?”
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