Aug 7, 2022 - World

Lindsey Graham among senators throwing support behind Pelosi's Taiwan trip

Navy personnel are seen on a Taiwanese Navy warship on Aug. 7 in Keelung, Taiwan. Photo: Annabelle Chih/Getty Images

Senators from both sides of the aisle voiced their support on Sunday for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent trip to Taiwan, as China continues to retaliate with provocative military drills in the region.

The big picture: Following Pelosi's controversial trip to the island nation, the Chinese military began live ammunition drills, launching 11 ballistic missiles into Taiwan's waters. As the drills have continued, Taiwan said they appear to simulate an attack on the island.

What they're saying: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he thinks Pelosi's trip was worth the current fallout with China.

  • "We need to be very clear that China doesn't get to dictate which U.S. officials go to Taiwan and when they go to Taiwan," Van Hollen said.
  • He added: "What President Xi (Jinping) decided to do was manufacture a crisis over Pelosi's visit. ... This is saber rattling and chest thumping."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN's "State of the Union" that he's "glad" Pelosi made the trip to Taiwan, adding, "If she hadn't gone, what would that have signaled to the Iranians and to the Russians?"

More details: Graham and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) both emphasized on "State of the Union" that America's response in one part of the world impacts another.

  • "China's watching what we do in Ukraine," Blumenthal said. "That's why we need to send more of the HIMARS multiple-launch, long-range artillery, so that Ukraine is successful in this next month during its counteroffensive. That's why we need to provide more humanitarian assistance to Ukraine."
  • "Here's what I want China to know — Putin made a big miscalculation," Graham said. "... So, if you want to receive what Putin did, try to go into Taiwan."
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