NBC’s Chuck Todd questions the ‘example’ of US democracy after ‘inability’ to get world behind China boycott

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd questioned the United States’ “inability” to get support from other countries for a diplomatic boycott of China, suggesting it was because America’s “democracy is not so good.”

“I can’t help but wonder our inability to get the world to follow us on a diplomatic boycott of China,” Todd said on Sunday’s broadcast. 

“It makes me think, ‘well maybe the example of our democracy is not so good, so people are thinking, why are we following you guys?’ It’s hard not to see that,” Todd said. 

Ice cleaning machines prepare the surface at the Capital Indoor Stadium on Jan. 27, 2022, in Beijing, China.

Ice cleaning machines prepare the surface at the Capital Indoor Stadium on Jan. 27, 2022, in Beijing, China.
(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Todd was joined by the American Enterprise Institute’s Matthew Continetti, New York Times Pentagon correspondent Helene Cooper, political analyst Amy Walter and former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for a “roundtable” discussion about former president Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and the Jan. 6 investigation. 

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Johnson said that the “situation” with the Olympics was “somewhat unique.” 

“I believe our response to Ukraine actually has been a nice reminder of how coalitions led by the United States can respond effectively,” Johnson said.

“Assuming we’re effective, assuming the response is effective,” Todd said. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “on the defensive” and therefore it was effective.  

The United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in December. Nine other countries, including The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Japan also chose not to send diplomats to China to protest ongoing human rights abuses in the Xingiang region. 

“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time.

Team China celebrate after winning the gold medal in the mixed team relay final during the short track speedskating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Beijing.

Team China celebrate after winning the gold medal in the mixed team relay final during the short track speedskating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Beijing.
(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

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National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also joined Todd on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” Todd asked Sullivan if it was disappointing that only nine other countries chose to boycott. 

“I have to say that the premise of your question is not quite right. The United States did not go around the world knocking on every country door trying to ‘organize’ a diplomatic boycott,” Sullivan stated. 

“What we did was come out and make a statement of principle about what we, the United States, were going to do.” 

Sullivan also said that European and Asian allies, despite not all joining in on the Olympic boycott, are “coming together on a range of challenges that China poses, whether it’s in the realm of military aggression or in the realm of economic coercion or in the realm of human rights.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the closing session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 10, 2021.

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the closing session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 10, 2021.
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Sullivan added that the U.S. is “stronger and more united” with its allies against China than they’ve ever been in “recent memory.” 

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Putin attended the opening ceremony and met with China President Xi Jinping before the ceremony started.

India announced they were joining the boycott on Friday shortly before the opening ceremony because China selected a commander, Col. Qi Fabao, that was involved in a fatal clash at the India and Chinese border, to be a torchbearer. India only has one athlete competing in Beijing and the country’s public broadcaster Doordarshan would not air the Olympics. 

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