U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick delivered a speech in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, unveiling his “Keystone Agenda to Reclaim America.” The event, held on the 82nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, marked the first in a series of speeches that will define McCormick’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper introduced McCormick, emphasizing McCormick’s dedication to national security and his commitment to fortifying the country’s military and economy. McCormick wasted no time in articulating his perspective on one of the most critical challenges facing the United States today — China.

“China poses the gravest threat to our security and wellbeing since WWII,” McCormick declared, setting the tone for a speech that highlighted his proposed approach to curb what he describes as the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ambitions for global dominance. In his eyes, the CCP speaks a single language — the language of power — and it’s time for the United States to respond accordingly.

McCormick criticized what he perceives as a strategy of appeasement by President Joe Biden and Senator Bob Casey, stating, “the best way to deter conflict is to ensure that we’re strong.” 

He criticized Casey for lacking both leadership and ideas, stating, “Senator Casey offers neither.”

The centerpiece of McCormick’s speech was his proposed six bans to check China’s aggressive ambitions:

  1. Stopping the Flow of Fentanyl: McCormick emphasized the need to halt the unabated flow of Chinese fentanyl ingredients and drug money into the Western Hemisphere, addressing a critical issue impacting American communities.
  1. Trade Relations and WTO: He called for the revocation of China’s permanent normal trade relations status and advocated for China’s removal from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  1. Reducing Dependence on China: McCormick highlighted the importance of stopping America’s increasing dependence on lithium batteries and solar panels imported from China, citing the risk it poses to national security.
  1. Ending Support for CCP: McCormick proposed ending any U.S. investment or trade that supports the CCP’s national security state, emphasizing the need to disentangle from entities aligned with China’s strategic interests.
  1. Removing China from WHO: He advocated for removing China from the World Health Organization (WHO), emphasizing the need for international organizations to reflect shared values.
  1. Ban on Land Purchases: McCormick proposed a ban on strategic purchases of American land by the CCP, aiming to safeguard national interests.

McCormick acknowledged what he characterized as “predictable” attacks from his opponent highlighting the fact that McCormick himself has done business in China through his work with Bridgewater. McCormick countered by asserting his experience makes him “uniquely qualified” to navigate the difficult task.

“It will take someone who has seen and experienced the way the Chinese operate to get this done,” said McCormick. “Someone who knows exactly the mistakes that American businesses and American government officials have made in China, and who has learned from those mistakes.”

As Pennsylvania gears up for the next U.S. Senate election, scheduled for November 5, 2024, the state finds itself in the midst of a contentious political landscape. The upcoming year, with a presidential election on the horizon, reinforces Pennsylvania’s traditional role as a crucial battleground state, ensuring that McCormick’s bold stance on China will resonate in the larger context of national politics.

Olivia DeMarco is an Editorial Associate for Broad + Liberty. She previously served as a legislative aide in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from Temple University.

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