WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Biden is facing bipartisan pressure from Congress to bar U.S. government officials from traveling to China for next year’s Winter Olympics.
Democrats and Republicans want to use a diplomatic boycott to protest the country’s human rights practices, including what the Biden administration has referred to as a genocide of religious minorities.
However, one senator is now calling on the president to completely boycott the Olympics.
“We should launch a complete and total boycott of China’s genocide Olympics,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR.
Cotton wants to block every athlete, Biden administration official and corporate sponsor from the games.
“I sympathize with them,” he said. “However, they have been failed by this administration.”
Cotton fears the Biden administration is not doing enough to keep athletes safe.
“They’ve made clear now that they do not have a plan to protect them from things like DNA harvesting or ubiquitous surveillance or hostage taking,” he said. “We cannot put the lives and the safety of our athletes, their coaches and their support staff at risk in China.”
The Biden administration accuses China of human rights abuses, including what it calls a genocide against Muslim ethnic groups. Cotton cites that as another reason to snub the games.
“China runs a totalitarian slave state,” he said.
Fellow lawmakers, like Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, have said athletes should be able to compete, but a growing number supports moving the Olympics to another country.
“I have a hard time wondering why the world would reward China, especially after Covid, with another Olympics,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.
Even more support a diplomatic boycott that would keep President Biden and other U.S. officials from attending the games. President Biden said that’s still on the table.
“Something we’re considering,” he said in the Oval Office Thursday.
When asked to elaborate, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki could not say what the U.S. presence at the Olympics will be but did say any potential changes should not downplay how the president’s virtual meeting went on Monday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.