(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin rejected a deal with Ford Motor Company to build a $3.5 billion battery plant in his state due to concerns over the company’s relationship with China.
“We felt that the right thing to do was to not recruit Ford as a front for China to America,” Youngkin, a Republican, said last week after delivering his State of the Commonwealth speech to the General Assembly.
Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology partnered with Ford in the venture.
A statement from Youngkin’s office made it clear they investigated the matter and concluded the foreign partner’s connections with the Chinese Communist Party are too tight to welcome them into the state in good conscience.
“While Ford is an iconic American company, it became clear that this proposal would serve as a front for the Chinese Communist party, which could compromise our economic security and Virginians’ personal privacy,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement. “When the potentially damaging effects of the deal were realized, the plant proposal never reached a final discussion stage.”
Democrats were furious with Youngkin for rejecting the deal and accused him of playing up China as “the enemy” to further his political ambitions.
“To deny [people in the community] jobs because you’re in last place in Republican presidential primaries [is] gubernatorial malpractice,” said state Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax. “I mean, this is clearly just obvious to me that the governor’s in some kind of out-China-bashing-contest with [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis and Governor Greg Abbott out of Texas.”
Youngkin did not address these comments, nor has he indicated that he is planning for a 2024 presidential run.
The rejection of this deal is a distinct separation between Youngkin and his predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, who has longtime ties with China dating back to his role as a campaign-bundler for then-President Bill Clinton.
In 2009, McAuliffe collaborated teamed up with Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, on GreenTech Automotive, a company claiming to manufacture eco-friendly vehicles that quickly folded after exploiting the Obama administration’s economic stimulus policies to fast-track Chinese investors for permanent-resident visas.
McAuliffe’s close ties with China also resulted in the notorious Chinagate scandal at the end of the Clinton presidency. In exchange for campaign donations, Chinese operatives allegedly gained access to confidential U.S. missile and satellite technology using the China-friendly Loral Space and Communications as its go-between.
Ford is considering building their new plant in Michigan after news of the rejection.