By Jay Clemons
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has mixed feelings about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s official visits to Asia this week, along with a delegation of other congressional leaders.
In one respect, Issa “applauds” Pelosi, D-Calif., for the trip to the sovereign island country of Singapore, thus acknowledging one of the United States’ most agreeable allies in that region.
At the same time, Issa sees Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a “grandstanding” move with no real diplomatic purpose.
With a sarcastic tone, Issa then added that “it’s a shame” the House speaker couldn’t bring her husband, Paul Pelosi — who recently sold his semiconductor stock worth approximately $5 million, after whispers of inside trading — on the Asian voyage.
Issa then got serious about Pelosi’s potentially problematic trip to Taiwan.
“If [Pelosi] really wanted to make a statement about the free and independent people of Taiwan, she could have done it other ways,” Issa said.
Specifically, Issa conceptualized Pelosi supporting Taiwan’s military through an aid package, or merely sending a low-key delegation to Taiwan that didn’t include the third-highest-ranking U.S. official — behind President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
And now, as a consequence, Issa says the world must wait with bated breath for China’s reaction to Pelosi possibly setting foot on Taiwan soil.
“This is grandstanding, and it’s shame. Taiwan deserves our support,” Issa said, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t know what to expect from a Pelosi visit to Taiwan.
When President Richard Nixon brokered a deal involving China and Taiwan more than 50 years ago, the United States’ GDP was “10 times greater” than China’s. It made sense to find structure in that region, Issa said.
“Back then, it made sense somewhat, for Taiwan to remain a [military] pawn, but with protections. Those days are gone,” said Issa, who is up for reelection in November in California’s 48th Congressional District.
The last comment could be construed as a jab at President Joe Biden. Issa later said that China doesn’t fear retribution from the Biden administration — unlike when former President Donald Trump ran the White House.
Issa said the Trump administration commanded and received respect from China.
That said, Issa said the U.S. still has a great obligation to protect Taiwan, Japan and its other Asian allies.
From Issa’s perspective, it’s imperative to keep rewarding Taiwan for supporting a free and independent system of government.