Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) condemned billionaire investor Ray Dalio on Thursday for Dalio’s comments criticizing the U.S. to defend China’s human rights abuses.
Romney tweeted, “Ray Dalio is brilliant and a friend, but his feigned ignorance of China’s horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse. Tragically, it is shared by far too many here and throughout the free world.”
On Tuesday, Dalio had appeared on a segment of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” in which he defended his continued investments in China, despite concerns about the Chinese government kidnapping dissenters and abusing people. After Dalio deflected blame about human rights concerns to the U.S. and said China’s government behaves only “like a strict parent,” Romney said Dalio’s comments reflect a “sad moral lapse.”
The segment began when host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Dalio about his response to the recent disappearances of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, and other human rights abuses in China. Sorkin asked how Dalio considers those issues when investing in China. Dalio responded, “I can’t be an expert in those types of things. . . I look to whatever the rules are” by the countries he invests in.
“And then I look at the United States,” Dalio continued, “And I say: ‘Well, what’s going on in the United States, and should I not invest in the United States because other things and not our own human rights issues or other things?'”
Sorkin responded, by saying while Dalio may disagree with some things in the U.S. “the government isn’t disappearing people,” like in China.
“What they have is an autocratic system and one of the leaders described it that the U.S. is a country of individuals and individualism and that’s what it’s about. He said in China it is an extension of the family.”
Dalio added, “As a top-down country, what they are doing is–they behave like a strict parent, and they go through that. That is their approach. We have our approach.”
Dalio added, “If I pick that — evaluated all approaches around the world, I’d be in a bind to find out, where do I invest and so on.”
Romney’s Thursday tweet was not the first time he has raised concerns about human rights abuses in China. In October, the senator from Utah joined a bipartisan group of colleagues — including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Todd Young (R-IN) — bringing legislation to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China in protest of human rights abuses against the Uyghur population.