Speaking with Breitbart News on Thursday, Republican Rep. Mike Waltz, a Florida native who represents the Sunshine State’s 6th congressional district, weighed in on current issues, offering his unique perspective.
A colonel in the National Guard as well as a former White House and Pentagon policy adviser, Rep. Waltz was the first Green Beret to be elected to Congress.
Waltz began by blasting the current administration, highlighting human rights abuses taking place on its watch despite the president having promised when taking office to make the issue a centerpiece of his policy.
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“I think Biden has been the worst president for human rights in modern American history, and I don’t think that’s an overstatement,” he said.
“If you look at the amount of girls coming over our southern border that are being sold into human trafficking — upwards of 40% according to Doctors Without Borders; if you look at what’s happening to minorities and women in Afghanistan that he just abandoned; if you look at the ongoing genocide in China, and we could keep going around the world – he has done nothing for human rights!” he asserted.
Waltz explained why he is hardly surprised by the results produced by the current administration.
“You have the same team around Biden that was around [former President] Obama and they have the same underlying philosophy, so you’re going to get many of the same results as we had back then,” he said.
He then criticized policies of the Obama administration that the team advising President Biden supported despite the undesirable outcomes of each.
“Back then this team thought the [U.S. Army deserter Bowe] Bergdahl trade was a good idea; thought the Iran deal was a good idea; thought giving everything away to Cuba and Venezuela with nothing in return was a good idea,” he said.
“We can walk around the world not responding to a land invasion in Europe of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, was the ‘right approach,'” he added. “The march across the South China Sea, we can go on and on.”
As a result, he argued, the same outcomes could be expected.
“So you’re going to see that same result now and we are seeing the same results,” he said, adding that, “We’ve gone from the Abraham Accords to literally rocket violence on Israeli cities, Iran is on the threshold of having a nuclear weapon, and Russia [is] amassing on the Ukrainian border again.”
Waltz went on to explain that the administration’s approach is seen as “weakness” among U.S. adversaries.
“They know they can get away with it and it’s all underscored by a philosophy of appeasement and concessions and ‘if we can just get people to the table with diplomacy first, then we can solve problems,'” he said.
“And we all know that our adversaries see that as weakness and will take full advantage of it, and that’s exactly what they’re doing,” he added.
Claiming “the world sees weakness in the White House right now,” Waltz warned that “our adversaries are going to run with it and take as much advantage of it as they can” in the next two years.
“I think with China in particular, we are in a very dangerous period between this summer,” he said, “so that will be after the Olympics and after the Communist Party conference, where [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] will essentially be re-elected for life.”
“After this summer and between Summer ’22 and November ’24 when they will see an opportunity to take advantage of this perceived weakness,” he added.
Waltz remarked that he believes the “trend lines” are heading in the direction of a United States ceding its role as a superpower.
“All you have to do is read Xi’s unfiltered speeches — not the watered-down translations they released to the public but the actual translations — where he openly talks about replacing the United States as a superpower,” he said, “and all the trend lines are heading in that direction.”
“Their navy is larger than ours now,” he added. “The average age of their ships is half ours; they’ve launched more into space than the rest of the world combined.”
But what makes China the greatest threat, according to Waltz, is its having “co-opted” so much of American society to achieve its ambitions.
“I think the biggest threat is how they’ve co-opted so many aspects of American society and that’s what makes them unlike any other threat the United States has ever faced and more dangerous and a huge threat that we face,” he said.
Claiming that applies “from Wall Street to Hollywood to the sports industry to our politics,” he lamented how the U.S. is “awash” from Chinese funds.
“We are awash from Chinese money and the number of organizations, from Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan to [Jeff] Bezos at Amazon, that are willing to turn a blind eye for their next quarter balance sheet is really frankly disgusting and disturbing,” he said.
2022 Beijing Olympics
Noting he was the first Congressmember to introduce a resolution calling for a “full boycott” of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics “back in February before it became cool,” Waltz claimed he initially pressed for altering the games’ venue.
“We’ve been pressuring the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and I want to be clear: the preference was for it to move the games,” he said.
“Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), myself, and others had been asking the IOC in letter after letter, engagement after engagement, to move the games when there was still plenty of time,” he added, “but once we were 12 months out it became clear that the IOC was not going to do that so we called for a full boycott.”
Waltz expressed dissatisfaction with other prominent figures for what he deemed hypocrisy on the matter.
“I would ask those conservatives, I would ask the athletes, I would ask the sponsors: did any of you who say, ‘well we shouldn’t introduce politics into athletics’ — number one: that ship has sailed — but number two: did they disagree with the IOC introducing politics when it came to apartheid? Did they think that was a bad move?” he asked.
“Because the IOC banned South Africa for the better part of three decades from any Olympic event happening in South Africa or even their team competing anywhere else,” he added.
Attributing the hypocrisy to money, Waltz highlighted his introducing of measures to limit Olympic sponsors.
“Why was it OK for apartheid but not now with China with an ongoing genocide?” he asked. “The answer, we all know, is how much money everybody is making.”
“So I’ve introduced measures to ban Department of Defense (DoD) aircraft from transporting anybody to the Olympics and banned the Olympic sponsors from selling their goods on military bases,” he added, noting his support for the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, “which finally, thanks to [Sen.] Marco Rubio’s great work finally passed.”
“Extremism” within the U.S. Military
He also addressed the Biden administration’s preoccupation with targeting the military to purge it of “extremism” as well as a recent Defense Department report detailing efforts to rout out “extremists” and ensure “only the best qualified recruits are selected for services.”
“A lot of it, if you look at the language around it and you look at [Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin’s language around it, they say extremism but then it’s followed very closely by white supremacism,” he said. “And much of this language came out in the wake of January 6 and is feeding into that narrative.”
But, according to Waltz, the data does not confirm that narrative.
“The interesting thing is the actual data doesn’t support their narrative so that’s point one,” he said. “Because the report cited 100 instances of extremism — I haven’t really dug through it to break that down — but I bet you a good number of that 100 were gang-related or Islamic extremism-related and not all white supremacy.”
Regardless, that number, he said, must also be seen in proportion.
“But even just take that 100 number on its face value out of the two and a half million in our military — It’s something like .005 percent,” he said. “Yet this is the number one priority of the Defense Secretary and the administration when it comes to the military, despite all of those other threats.”
Stressing the overall need to root out extremism, Waltz pointed to the unusual prioritization of the issue.
“I want to be clear: we should always root out extremism at every instance,” he said. “Since [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh and [Fort Hood shooter] Nidal Hassan, we’ve had to deal with a number of high-profile cases, and we should always root it out.”
“But the data does not support it being the number one priority of the Defense Department,” he added.
Waltz claimed the fixation on a constant threat of extremism “fits into the broader narrative,” though it isn’t reflective of the reality.
“We had a hearing in the House and I asked the chairman about the growing threat and the rising tide of white supremacy in the military and I asked both the Democratic chairman and every witness where’s the data that supports that narrative,” he said.
“It’s not there,” he added, “but yet they’re pushing this narrative.”
He lamented the decrease in Americans’ confidence in the military.
“What is so disturbing is we’ve seen a significant drop in confidence in the U.S. military amongst the American public, which is probably the last bastion of confidence when it comes to a government institution,” he said.
“According to the Reagan Institute: from 70% [confidence] to below 50%,” he added, “and so this narrative that they’re pushing is incredibly dangerous and I’m going to push back on it until somebody shows me the actual data, but [according to] their own report: .005%.”
When asked whether he trusted President Biden to fulfill his stated pledge to prevent the Iranian regime from attaining nuclear weapons, Waltz replied he did not.
“I don’t have 100% faith in him backing that up, not with a military option,” he said. “The Biden administration — from [Secretary of State] Tony Blinken to [National Security Adviser] Jake Sullivan to [President] Biden himself — the typical first card they play is taking a military option off the table,” he said.
“They just did it with Russia and Ukraine,” he added, “and so that makes diplomacy that much more difficult when you do that.”
Claiming that such an approach is part of their “underlying philosophy,” Waltz said, “they just don’t seem to understand that you always leave all options on the table, particularly when you’re dealing with autocratic dictatorial regimes.”
“I don’t know how this ends up well at this point,” he added.
Waltz surmised that President Trump, in the event he’d have continued to a second term, would have forced the Iranians to negotiate a far better deal.
“I think if [former President] Trump had had a second term and continued the full maximum pressure campaign, even though there was some leakage with China in terms of oil sales, I do believe the Iranians would have come to the table from a position of weakness and we could have struck a much better deal,” he said.
But with “the same team now around Biden that they dealt with with [former President] Obama,” Waltz claimed the Iranians “see opportunity [and] advantage.”
“We’ve seen that in how they’ve approached the negotiations and all they care about is telling us what we want to hear,” he said. “They’re deceiving the world so that they can get sanctions dropped and those billions will flow right into the regime and right into their terrorist proxies and right Into their nuclear program.”
Waltz also claimed he feared Sullivan, on a recent trip to Israel, “made it clear to the Israelis we won’t provide the military support for them to take a military option, so that they, the Israelis, have no choice.”
“So I think that’s a big question mark sitting out there,” he added. “What happened in those discussions, and what message did the administration convey to our greatest ally in the Middle East?”
Since the start of the Biden administration, Waltz claimed global terrorism “has gotten a big shot in the arm.”
“The message across the Middle East is jihad has won, democracy has lost,” he said, warning that terror groups may be planning further attacks on America.
“I think al-Qaeda fully intends to attack us again,” he warned. “They’re developing the capability to do so.”
“I fully expect the United States to have to go back and deal with that either on the periphery or actually in Afghanistan, and right now, I think we’re seeing an axis of terror developed from Hamas to Iran’s proxies and ISIS in Syria and Iraq to Iran itself to the Taliban caliphate,” he added. “And it’s just not a good situation at all.”
Waltz has been a frequent critic of the Biden administration and its policies.
Last month, Waltz blasted President Biden’s “wrong approach” on Iran, calling a partial Iran nuclear deal weaker than the one struck under the Obama administration.
In September, he accused President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin of “selling this country a fiction” that the U.S. could manage a resurgence of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan “with nothing” there, following the U.S. pullout of troops from there.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.