Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) threatened on Friday to override a potential Trump veto of sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials accused of human rights abuses related to their handling of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters.
The sanctions form the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which passed both chambers of Congress with a veto-proof majority. The Senate signed off on the bill on Tuesday.
“President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party cannot silence the United States Congress,” Cruz said in a statement. “In case they aren’t familiar with how our Constitution works, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed the House and Senate by overwhelming veto-proof majorities and it will become law.”
Cruz’s comments were directed toward President Trump, who did not indicate if he would sign the bill in a Friday interview on Fox and Friends.
“I stand with Hong Kong, I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do,” Trump said in the interview, “But we are also in the process of making the largest trade deals in history.”
Trump went on, “we have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping].”
The U.S. and China are currently in the midst of a trade war, with each side imposing tariffs on imports from the other and blocking some imports entirely. President Trump has sought to ink a far-reaching trade deal with China to stabilize the situation, however the signing process might not begin until next year.
Speaking at a conference in Beijing on Wednesday, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger said the U.S. and China were in the “foothills of a cold war.”
“If conflict is permitted to run unconstrained the outcome could be even worse than it was in Europe,” Kissinger said. “World War I broke out because a relatively minor crisis could not be mastered.”