Sen. Ted Cruz said on Sunday that he supports a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China next year and urged U.S. athletes to “kick their commie asses” during the games in protest against recent human rights violations in the country.
The Texas Republican criticized China on CBS’ “Face the Nation” for its handling of tennis player Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusations against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, which led to the athlete’s disappearance from the public eye.
He applauded the Women’s Tennis Association for standing up for the tennis star and demanding more transparency and called for similar engagement from U.S. officials, especially at the Olympic Games, through a diplomatic boycott.
The U.S. should show “the courage the Women’s Tennis Association is showing to call out the murder, the genocide, the torture, the lies, the complicity on Covid-19 of the Chinese Communist government, to speak the truth,” he said.
President Joe Biden has already said he’s considering a diplomatic boycott that would ban all high-level U.S. officials from attending the Olympics in protest against the country’s treatment of Uyghurs and its crackdown on democratic freedom in Hong Kong.
Some likely 2024 presidential candidates such as Nikki Haley and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) have urged stronger measures, such as a full boycott, but Cruz said such a move would be a “mistake.”
Doing so would simply “punish a generation of athletes,” he said. “We have young men, young women, Americans who spent their whole lives practicing for this moment,” he said. “I don’t want to punish those young athletes.”
Rather, he said, the U.S. should call out the Chinese government for its handling of the pandemic and human rights violations and win at the games.
“I really hope our young men and women, that they go over there and kick their commie asses,” he said. “We need to win in the Olympics.”