Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, criticized President Joe Biden’s climate czar John Kerry for his trip to China to revive climate “cooperation” amid controversy over his private jet use.
“Once again, Joe Biden’s climate czar jets off across the world burning the same fossil fuels he rages against, wasting taxpayer dollars, and undermining U.S. strength on the world stage,” Ernst told Fox News Digital Tuesday. “While his head is stuck in the clouds, John Kerry needs a reminder that fossil fuels are not the enemy, China is.
“The CCP is seeking to undermine the U.S. at every turn, but the Biden administration continues to bow to Beijing, the world’s largest polluter, and give lip service to the greenies,” she said.
Kerry, who arrived in China Sunday for “in-depth” talks on climate change with the country’s communist government, came under scrutiny last week by House Republicans for his and his family’s private jet use that allegedly has a 325-metric-ton carbon footprint.
Kerry defended himself, arguing his use of a private jet is “one of the most outrageously persistent lies that I hear” and that he never “personally” owned a jet. A spokesperson for Kerry said Monday he had returned to China using a “commercial” flight but didn’t elaborate on details.
Ernst spoke to Fox News Digital ahead of her remarks at a conference by grassroots group Christians United for Israel in Washington, D.C., where she discussed bipartisan efforts to strengthen U.S.-Israel ties.
This week, the Senate will take up the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Ernst, the Maritime Act. That measure would build on the Abraham Accords by requiring the Department of Defense to develop a strategy with U.S. partners and allies in the Middle East to counter maritime threats posed by Iran, violent extremist organizations and criminal networks.
Ernst argued that an integrated maritime security architecture would expand U.S. intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) capabilities, as well as operational coordination in the region to defend against shared threats.
“We’ve already acted on air supports making sure that we have an integrated air and missile defense system,” Ernst said. “We want to do the same with the water domain as well, and making sure that all of our allies and partners with the Abraham Accords can come together and share information that will protect us not just from the air, but now from the water as well.”
Ernst, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also criticized the Biden administration’s “weak leadership” for not enforcing sanctions on Iran despite the country’s seizure of oil tankers.
“We have such a weak leadership with President Biden right now that we have seen an increase in Iranian oil tanker seizures, 20 attempts during this administration,” Ernst said. “And it’s inexcusable. We need to see action from the Biden administration to counter those seizures. And yet, President Biden won’t even stand up and follow his own oil sanctions against Iran.”
In April, Ernst and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to Biden arguing that Iran’s oil sales remain a key revenue source for the regime to promote a destabilizing agenda and bolster terrorist groups. Despite available funding from the Treasury Department, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seizure program has not been able to conduct a seizure for two of the past three years the program has existed.
“When HSI seizes and processes Iranian oil, 75% of seizure revenues are allocated to the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. It is unacceptable that a U.S. government program, which makes the United States and its allies safer, provides funds to remediate the victims of terrorism, and generates income for the United States in a cost-effective manner has been allowed to languish,” the senators wrote.