DeSantis PAC attack ad hits Nikki Haley in China, as 2024 presidential rivalry grows

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The main outside group supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential bid is airing a television advertisement this Sunday targeting former UN ambassador Nikki Haley for bring in chinese companies to South Carolina when she was governor. The announcement, first obtained by CBS News, signals a growing foreign policy dispute between the two 2024 presidential candidates.

The 2.5 million dollars buying super PAC ads “Never Back Down” will debut during CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast on Sunday and will air this week on Fox News, CNN and Newsmax in the Iowa and New Hampshire media markets.

It centers on a South Carolina-based manufacturing facility for a Chinese fiberglass company built in 2016. The company, China Jushi, invested $300 million to build its first U.S. plant on 200 acres in Columbia, South Carolina, and created at least 400 jobs. , according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The ad refers to China Jushi as a “communist party-owned high-tech company” and notes its plant’s proximity to a U.S. military training center.

China Yushi is partially owned by a Chinese government company whose leadership has ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Zhang Yuqiang, CEO of China Jushi in 2016, serves as secretary of the company’s communist party committee, according to your website.

While the company’s materials are often used for automobiles, light bulbs, and appliances, one of its listed end-use markets includes “Military, Defense and Security”, such as the “Norinco QL550”, a Chinese military armored vehicle.

DeSantis’ PAC ad features a clip of Haley touting that Chinese companies “want to do business in South Carolina.” It also shows a clip of her saying that China is “really doing quite a bit of good faith. They’re really great friends of ours,” although that was taken from a CBS News Interview 2017 where he spoke about China’s signing of US sanctions on North Korea.

“Nikki Haley: questionable judgment, dangerous for China”, the The narrator of the ad says.showing photographs of Haley and Chinese President Xi Jinping with Chinese symbols in the background that read “Communist Party of China.”

In 2016, Haley praised the investment and new jobs in her state as a “great victory” for the state’s workforce and appeared via video at the project signing ceremony in China. It is not unusual for governors to tout new businesses, jobs and investments: the South Carolina Department of Commerce reported about $669 million in investments from Chinese companies in 2015, more than double the $308 million at the start of Haley’s term.

But as a presidential candidate, Haley has called China the “number one national security threat.” He said he would revoke federal funding for universities that accept money from China, take back American land China had already purchased and end “all normal trade relations with” China until the flow of fentanyl in opioids produced in the country ends. country.

Asked in “Face the nation” in July if she were to expel Chinese manufacturers who invested in South Carolina, Haley said she wants “the [prior administrations] He had told the governors what was happening. “What we have to do is make sure that no sensitive technology is stolen.”

A super PAC supporting Haley, “Stand For America,” has made her tough stance on China a centerpiece in multiple advertisements.

A spokesperson for Haley said the ad was “more lies and hypocrisy from desperate loser Ron DeSantis, who aggressively recruited Chinese companies in Florida, including a sanctioned Chinese military manufacturer. Nikki Haley took on the Chinese at the UN and will do so as Chairwoman”.

DeSantis has not yet released a foreign policy plan, but said he would take a “hard power” approach to the country.

In Can, signed in Florida a ban on Chinese citizens purchasing agricultural land and land near U.S. military bases and a ban on TikTok and WeChat, Chinese-owned social media apps, on government devices. In Septemberordered the state education department to revoke school choice scholarships from four schools, claiming they had “direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”

But while he has taken a hard line on China as governor, at least one Chinese company in Florida expanded during his tenure.

Cirrus Aircraft Ltd., an aircraft manufacturer that added two training centers in central Florida in 2022, is owned by the US-sanctioned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

This is Never Back Down’s second attack television ad against Haley. DeSantis He has also been criticizing Haley over Gaza refugees since Hamas attacked Israel.

“There are so many of these people who want to free themselves from this terrorist regime. They want to free themselves from all of that. And the United States has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate the civilians from the terrorists,” Haley said on CNN about To the Residents from Gaza when asked about DeSantis’ comment that all Palestinians are “anti-Semites.”

DeSantis characterized Haley’s comments as an openness to accepting refugees from Gaza, although he did not say that and actually said Middle Eastern countries should give them safe harbor. TO CNN Fact Check found that DeSantis’ suggestion that Haley would allow in refugees from Gaza is false.

On Saturday, an Iowa voter asked Haley if she would be willing to take in refugees from Gaza.

“God bless Ron DeSantis, because he continues to try to bring this refugee situation to light,” Haley responded. “He’s said I want to accept refugees from Gaza. I’ve never said that. And he has an ad on TV, and I’ll tell you, from CNN to Newsmax, everyone has said his ad is a lie.”

“Why would you be talking about investigating people if you don’t want them to come in?” DeSantis said about Haley during his own campaign stop in Iowa on Saturday. “I think they’re trying to cover her tracks and act like we’re doing something more than just quoting her words.

Haley’s super PAC issued an announcement on Thursday in Iowa and New Hampshire in response to DeSantis’ attacks, emphasizing his full response on Gaza refugees.

Haley has beaten DeSantis in fundraising and early state polls. Her campaign says she entered October with more than $9 million in primary cash on hand, while DeSantis has just $5 million to use in the primary.

TO CBS News September Poll showed Haley trailing DeSantis by 13 points in Iowa, a state where DeSantis has invested a lot of time and resources, but within the margin of error in New Hampshire (DeSantis at 13%, Haley at 11%). According to an aggregate of New Hampshire-specific polls conducted over the past two months by Real Clear Politics, Haley’s average (14%) is higher than DeSantis’ (10%).

Both are far behind former President Donald Trump in fundraising and vote.

Taurean Small contributed reporting.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that a Chinese company in Florida, Jinko Solar, received a grant from the city of Jacksonville in April.. While a bill proposed by the Jacksonville City Council included grants for the company, the the council voted in June repeal that legislation after a Department of Homeland Security raid.

Jinko Solar did not receive any subsidies this year and a company spokesperson said The US government has not told them what the investigation is about and that “from the beginning of the UFLPA, and to this day, [U.S. Customs and Border Control] has reviewed and published all Jinko solar panels based on the documentation provided by the company.”

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