Sen. Ted Cruz broke with a number of other Republicans in saying that the U.S. should not boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics to stand up to China’s abuses, but should instead "kick their commie ‘a--es.’
The Texas Republican wrote a tweet in agreement with former President Trump, who said a boycott would be "unfair to athletes."
"I see it both ways," he told RealClearInvestigations, "but I would not do that … You go. You compete. You win."
Republicans have offered up a tough-on-China approach, fueled by China’s missteps - and alleged fault - in the COVID-19 pandemic, its human rights abuses against the Uighur minority, and unfair trade policies.
"To be clear, I and many others hope that the International Olympic Committee comes to its senses and moves the 2022 Olympic Winter Games out of Beijing," Cruz explained further in a March op-ed for Fox News. "The worst thing we can do to stand up to China is to keep our athletes home. As anyone who has ever faced down a bully knows, when you decide to hide and not to fight, the bully wins. "
Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador under Trump, called for a boycott of the winter games until the U.S. can be certain COVID-19 didn’t come from a Wuhan lab.
"We should absolutely boycott the Chinese Olympics. Other allies and friends should do it with us," she said last month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she thinks world leaders should boycott the Olympics if they are held in Beijing. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., this week called for a "complete boycott" unless the "safety, security and privacy of our athletes" is guaranteed.
Human Rights Commission co-chair Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, opened a hearing in May by calling on the "IOC and all interested parties including the United States to find a new host city — or boycott."
"In granting Beijing host status for the Olympic Games, we are crowning a barbarous regime with laurels while we should be condemning their abuse and genocide," he said.
A coalition representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others issued a statement Monday calling for a boycott, eschewing lesser measures that had been floated like "diplomatic boycotts" and further negotiations with the IOC or China. But the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has said boycotts are ineffective and only hurt athletes.