Martha McSally slams Mark Kelly’s connections to China in debate
PHOENIX — Republican Senator Martha McSally doubled down on her attacks of Democratic challenger Mark Kelly’s connections to China during a debate Tuesday night.
The Republican incumbent accused Kelly of bringing a Chinese communist banner to space with him after Kelly went on a Chinese-government-funded trip, and later said he recruited a company close to the Chinese government to invest in a company he co-founded.
The remarks continued a campaign against Kelly for months on his alleged connections to China.
Political ads have accused Kelly of pitching products in China and his personal business being part-owned by an arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
“I’m standing up to China while my opponent is doing business with China, and this is the biggest threat we have going forward,” McSally said in the debate.
“We need somebody who is going to be strong on China, not do business with them.”
Kelly responded to McSally’s criticism saying he had an opportunity to start a business in Arizona and he’s “never going to apologize for creating good-paying jobs and creating a business that is a lot of economic activity here in the state of Arizona.”
As for McSally’s claim of Kelly bringing a Chinese banner to space, the Democrat denied it.
“I don’t know what she’s talking about, I don’t know where she gets her information.”
Kelly said McSally has just started making China an issue during this election cycle, saying Mitch McConnell allies “handed her a memo and says this is the issue in your election.”
“She thinks this is the way for her to win an election, and that’s not what Arizona needs. We need independent leadership focused on solving hard problems.”
Kelly recalled back to his time with the U.S. Navy, adding he’s known China as an adversary for his “entire adult life.”
“Anywhere on the planet where we leave a vacuum, China is going to step into it,” Kelly said. “We need to hold them accountable, we need to use diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to do that.”
Kelly then criticized McSally for saying nothing when Republican President Donald Trump praised China’s response early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Why is that? I don’t think she had her memo yet,” Kelly said.
Kelly accused McSally of questioning his patriotism, which she denied saying she is questioning his judgment.
Both claimed they are not weak on a response to China.