DeSantis Criticizes Haley’s Ties to Chinese Businesses
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has accused former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley of being “very weak on China” due to her alleged ties to Chinese businesses. DeSantis referenced a video of Haley as governor, standing in front of a Chinese flag with a Chinese business, stating that she now works for them. He argues that Haley’s actions demonstrate her lack of strength in dealing with China.
The Bluestar Silicones Deal
The specific company mentioned by DeSantis is Bluestar Silicones, which acquired land in South Carolina after receiving incentives from the county and state in 2011. The Herald reported that Haley played a crucial role in bringing the company to South Carolina, using her charm to convince Bluestar’s CEO to choose her state over North Carolina. The deal involved financial incentives and property tax relief provided by the South Carolina Economic Development office and the county.
Integration of Chinese Entities
Bluestar Silicones, which is now a subsidiary of China’s state-owned Sinochem Holdings Corp, integrated with two Chinese entities in July 2017. In 2020, the State Department identified Bluestar Silicones and several other Chinese entities as owned or controlled by the Chinese military. These revelations have sparked concerns about Haley’s previous recruitment of Chinese businesses as governor.
Haley’s Defense and Criticism of DeSantis
Haley’s team has repeatedly defended her record on China, stating that DeSantis himself aggressively recruited Chinese companies to Florida. They highlighted DeSantis’ provision of subsidies to Jinko Solar, a Chinese company that was raided by the Department of Homeland Security. Haley’s spokesperson accused DeSantis of hypocrisy and called him a “phony” who will say anything to save his struggling campaign.
Haley’s Stance on China
On the campaign trail, Haley has emphasized her tough stance on China. She has pledged to rescind federal funding for universities accepting money from China, reclaim land that China has purchased in the U.S., and end trade relations with China until it stops flooding the U.S. with fentanyl. Haley aims to position herself as a leader who will be strong against the communist regime.
Critics Raise Concerns
Critics have raised concerns about Chinese companies’ presence near military installations in South Carolina. They point to China Jushi Co. Ltd., a Chinese fiberglass manufacturer located near a U.S. Army base. Although South Carolina Governor Harry McMaster has stated that Jushi has not caused any issues, the company has faced fines for environmental violations. The proximity of Bluestar’s property to a National Guard training center is also a cause for concern.
In the race for the presidency, Haley faces scrutiny over her ties to Chinese businesses, while attempting to defend her record and position herself as tough on China. The issue of China’s influence in the U.S. continues to be a major concern for many Republican candidates.