Rep. Dana Rohrabacher denied that Russia commits human rights abuses while at the same time denouncing China in a testy exchange with a Yahoo News anchor.
Rohrabacher, a California Republican who has been named as a possible candidate for secretary of state in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, accused Yahoo’s Bianna Golodryga of bias for pointing out that Russia is accused of human right abuses just like China, calling the assertion “baloney.”
Rohrabacher advocates for a closer US relationship with Russia, but also seems unconcerned about the US endangering its relationship with China.
“If it’s right for us to join in and cooperate and have a better relationship with Russia in order to defeat radical Islam and to pull China back a bit, well, that’s a good thing, and that’s what this is all about,” Rohrabacher said. “Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. There’s a bunch of people here who want to treat it like it’s still the Soviet Union and get in the Cold War. That’s not what Donald Trump wants, it’s not good for America.”
Rohrabacher had also referred to China as a “vicious dictatorship” and “the world’s worst human-rights abuser.”
When Golodryga pointed out that Russia has also been accused of human rights abuses, things got testy. Here’s the back-and-forth:
Golodryga: When you talk about human rights abusers in China, much can be said about Russia as well in that regard.
Rohrabacher: Oh, baloney. Where do you come from? How can you say that?
Golodryga: I come form the former Soviet Union, that’s where I came from. I came here as a political refugee. That’s where I came from.
Rohrabacher: Oh, ok. What country did you say you came from?
Golodryga: I come from the former Soviet Union, from Moldova.
Rohrabacher: Oh, well then that’s good, the audience knows that you are biased.
Golodryga: I’m biased, because I’m an American citizen who was born in a foreign country?
Rohrabacher: Yeah, yeah, when you start saying that Russia, do you know that there have been no political reforms in China? None.
Golodryga: I’m not saying, I’m not advocating that China be our best friend. I’m talking to you about Russia right now.
Rohrabacher: You just said that Russia and China are the same. I’m sorry, they are not.
Golodryga: I said they are both human rights abusers. How am I wrong?
Rohrabacher: How are you wrong? In China they don’t have opposition force?
Golodryga: And Russia isn’t accused of murdering journalists?
Rohrabacher: Ah, ok, look. I’ll let the public decide with that last comment where you are coming from.
Soon after that, Rohrabacher compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Mikhail Gorbachev, a former communist leader of the Soviet Union.
Watch the full exchange below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.