Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio criticized fellow candidate Joe Biden, staking out territory “on the reform side” of the 2020 field and calling the former vice president’s comments on China “stunningly out of touch.”
In an interview with CNN’s Van Jones slated to air at 7 p.m., ET, Saturday, Jones asked Ryan, who has advocated for the industrial Midwest in his campaign, what he thought of Biden’s Wednesday comments that China is “not competition for us.”
“I actually think that’s stunning,” Ryan said. “And I love Joe Biden. But I think that’s stunningly out of touch with where we are right now.”
Ryan cited China’s initiatives such as building militarized islands in the South China Sea and dominating the electric car and solar power industries.
“They’re putting billions of dollars behind these projects, and they have a 100-year plan,” he added. “We’re in a 24-hour news cycle. And they’re winning, and that’s the urgency that I’m bringing to this race.”
Ryan stressed that US-China relations would “be about the future” and determine key sectors of the US economy.
“I think it’s going to be about, who’s the president that’s going to allow us and help us dominate electric vehicles? Who’s going to steer that investment in the communities of color, into the Youngstown, Ohios, and Akron, Ohios, and Gary, Indianas, of the world that have been unplugged from any benefits of globalization for the last 30 or 40 years?”
“I think the country’s looking for a president to say, ‘I get it,’” he added. “And I think I fit in that, and that’s why I’m running.”
Ryan took another swing at Biden when Jones asked whether the Ohio Democrat related more to “people like Biden saying, ‘Hey, let’s return to normalcy, return to decency’” or to candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who argue “the old status quo was broken to begin with – we don’t want to return to anything, we want to disrupt and go forward in different directions.”
Ryan replied, “I think we need reform.”
“We can’t be so divided because no matter what the plan is, it’s not going anywhere if we’re divided,” he said, calling for decency and respect. “We’ve got to come together as a country.”
“But I’m on the reform side,” Ryan added. “I mean, I just think the government is outdated and sometimes the Democrats go out of their way to defend the indefensible.”