White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she wouldn’t “get ahead of the president” with regard to his expected actions against China in response to Beijing’s announcement Monday of sanctions against 11 U.S. politicians and heads of organizations promoting democratic causes.
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Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Monday said the 11 – including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – had “performed badly” on issues concerning Hong Kong, where China has cracked down on opposition voices following its imposition of a national security law in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city last month.
The number of Americans named by the ministry exactly equals the number of Hong Kong and Chinese officials placed on a sanctions list by the U.S. last week over the crackdown.
McEnany said the president “has stood strongly against China and will continue to do so.”
The press secretary also declined to comment on the location of President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination.
Just before McEnany held her press briefing, Trump tweeted that the speech will be held at either the White House or the Gettysburg battlefield.
Both sites are federal property raising legal and ethical issues for their use in a political event. The Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania could also resurface the president’s defense of monuments to heroes of Confederacy.
McEnany said the “president has done a lot to bring this country together. We’ve faced unprecedented challenges and he’s worked to make sure that the American people are best equipped and taken care of to rise above the challenges that we face.”
Asked whether Trump supports the protesters in Belarus who are challenging Sunday’s election results extending the 26-year rule of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, McEnany said the White House is “deeply concerned” about the election there.
“Severe restrictions on ballot access for candidates, prohibition of local independent observers at polling stations, intimidation of opposition candidates, and the detention of peaceful protesters and journalists have marred the process,” she said.
McEnany also said Trump would like to see college football resume this fall and give the players a chance to “live out their dreams.”
Over the weekend, the Mid-American Conference became the first of the major college football leagues to cancel the fall season. They discussed mounting concerns about whether a season can be safely conducted with the pandemic still not under control in the United States.