A number of prominent Republicans joined forces to oppose President Donald Trump’s re-election in November, and recent reports suggest some of those activists took an improper foreign trip.
According to the National Pulse, a delegation consisting of former U.S. representatives — including some who later joined the “Republicans for Biden” movement — visited a think tank linked to China’s Communist Party in 2012 with the travel expenses funded by China.
The controversial trip
At one point, the U.S. government flagged their involvement in the undertaking as an “undercover intelligence gathering.”
Members of the delegation were reportedly chosen for the trip based on their “open-minded perspective” regarding China.
The delegation traveled to Beijing in April 2012 on the dime of the China-United States Exchange Foundation. Participants including former Reps. Constance Morella, Barbara Kennelly, Philip English, John Tanner, and Martin Frost.
Tung Chee Hwa is identified as the founder of CUSEF and his group has become known for targeting American universities and offering funds as methods of infiltrating the United States, presumably with the goal of gathering as much sensitive information as possible.
Morella would go on to become an active force in promoting 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before leading fundraising efforts for the pro-Biden GOP group in the lead-up to the 2020 race.
“Exchanges and cooperation”
The former Republican representative from Maryland has also reportedly worked alongside pro-China operatives at policy events on Capitol Hill.
As for the U.S. delegation’s trip to China, the goal appears to have hinged on a meeting with the chairman of China’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the leader of the China Association for International Friendly Contact.
An event summary revealed that they met with various high-ranking leaders to discuss “approaches to promote the exchanges and cooperation between China and America.”
Throughout Trump’s first term, a range of Republican groups emerged to oppose his administration in various ways.
As Lucy Caldwell, a GOP strategist who worked on the longshot presidential campaign of former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), explained last year: “The Never Trump movement is having a moment. But on the whole, the last four years have been a lot of throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks, and a lot of head chefs in the kitchen.”