Biden showed complete lack of leadership in failing to address China in State of the Union


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Just days after a Chinese spy balloon spent an entire week floating over the heads of Americans before finally being shot down, President Biden had an opportunity to send China a strong message in his State of the Union address. Unfortunately, the president once again chose not to lead. 

Instead, he put issues like climate change, abortion and the Junk Fee Protection Act ahead of even mentioning China. The president’s apologists, like Sen. Chuck Schumer, have claimed Biden’s focus was on “the average working family and their concerns, their dreams, their hopes.” 

This completely misses the point: Nothing presents a greater external threat to American families than the actions of the Chinese Communist Party. 

Take the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our country for years. While conveniently leaving out that his own administration’s failures are to blame for our porous southern border, Biden did manage to acknowledge it must be better secured if we are to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into our towns and communities.

We should be clear, though: The opioid crisis does not begin in Mexico. It begins in China.

A record amount of fentanyl entered the US in 2022.

Cartels’ key supplier 

The Mexican cartels smuggling record amounts of fentanyl into the United States are only able to produce their products because they import the necessary precursor compounds from China. American families, especially those who have been affected by the fentanyl epidemic, deserve to know this. They deserve leaders who will stand up to Xi Jinping and fight for them. Yet Biden chose to make empty promises.

The president also discussed social media and its effect on our children, stressing the need for Congress to ensure our children’s data aren’t being harvested and their mental health isn’t being harmed by apps on their phones. Again, though, Biden missed the point: The greatest social-media threat to our children is TikTok, owned and operated by Chinese company ByteDance. 

China’s National Intelligence Law, enacted in July 2017, established the “obligation” for Chinese citizens and companies to support and assist in work pertaining to national intelligence. As a former secretary of state and CIA director, I can assure you the CCP has already demanded private data collected by TikTok and will continue to demand it. 

A recent “60 Minutes” report also laid out the stark differences between the American and Chinese versions of the app. While China’s version contains a setting for children that presents educational and patriotic videos and is limited to just 40 minutes of use daily, the American version has no limits unless the user voluntarily selects them. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita recently sued TikTok, saying the app exposes children to “drug and alcohol use, nudity and intense profanity.” 

TikTok logo
Biden has refused to support banning TikTok, despite pressure to do so.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

TikTok welcome mat 

Biden has refused to support banning TikTok — indeed, he has even invited popular TikTok “influencers” to the White House to spread his administration’s agenda. More than 30 million American children have TikTok on their phones; American parents deserve to know the threat the CCP poses to their children. Biden didn’t even address it in his remarks.

Finally, there is the spy balloon, which Biden hardly mentioned. Just as he didn’t account for his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, which resulted in 13 American service members being killed, and his failure to deter Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine until it was too late, Biden once again failed to give the American people an explanation as to why a Chinese spy balloon, first detected off Alaska Jan. 28, was allowed to traverse US airspace and float over sensitive military sites for an entire week before finally being shot down. 

Biden may have feigned toughness by saying, “If China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country.” But nothing about his actions remotely suggests to Xi that America is serious about defending its interests. 

America’s greatest leaders, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, understood that weakness breeds aggression. By showing deference to our adversaries rather than establishing deterrence, President Biden has sent a message of weakness to the Chinese Communist Party. 

The American people deserved to hear the truth about the threat the CCP poses to all of us; Biden’s State of the Union failed to deliver.

Mike Pompeo is a former United States secretary of State.

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