The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

SCTV 4/10/2024
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Terry Brandstad, former Iowa governor and ambassador to China, pays Simpson a visit

Kenzie Van Haaften
President Jay Byers interviews former Iowa governor and ambassador to China Terry Brandstad about relations between the U.S. and China.

Former Governor and Ambassador to China, Terry Brandstad, visited Simpson to talk about the future relations between the U.S. and China with President Jay Byers.

Hosted on a snowy day for April, Byers quoted Prince by saying, “Sometimes it snows in April.”.The Indianola community gathered in Pote Theater to hear from Brandstad.

Brandstad, the longest-serving governor in the U.S. and previous ambassador to China, is currently the President of the World Food Prize. Brandstad talked briefly about his time as governor of Iowa to a crowd of around 100 Simpson students and members of the Indianola community.

Brandstad got the position of ambassador to China through Iowa’s sister state program with Hebei, China. Brandstad created the program during his first term as governor and created long-lasting relationships with political figures in China. Brandstad also credited his son for helping him get the job due to his position in former President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Ambassador is a lot different than governor,” Brandstad said. “As governor, you’re a chief executive. You’re the elected official for the state. As ambassador, you’re representing America and the administration.”

When discussing his time as ambassador, Byers questioned Brandstad on his relationship with former-president Trump.

Brandstad called himself a “good friend” of Trump and stated that he was “treated very well.” Brandstad did not talk about the time after Trump lost the election, January 6th, Trump’s current trial or Brandstad’s current relationship with Trump.

Byers did question the former ambassador about China’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Brandstad stated that he believes the virus came out of a lab in Wuhan, China and that China wasn’t telling the whole truth throughout the pandemic.

“They have never been honest and told the amount of deaths, but I think it’s in the millions,” Brandstad said. “The Chinese people are wonderful people, but you can’t trust their government.”

Byers also questioned Brandstad about current relations with China and his time there. Brandstad said he loved the people, but worried about the government for its lack of transparency and the people’s lack of privacy.

“There’s a lot of ups and downs, but recently it’s been a lot of downs,” Brandstad said.

Byers then asked the former ambassador about the recent bill to ban TikTok due to its connection to the Chinese Communist Party. Brandstad agreed with many senators who believe TikTok is dangerous due to the lack of privacy the app provides.

“We have to protect our own national security,” he said. “We need to protect our own privacy.”

Brandstad also fears for the safety of Taiwan, as China has made moves to take control of the sovereign nation.

Brandstad claimed that during his time as ambassador, China began building up its navy and creating artificial islands in the South China Sea, encroaching on other countries and claiming international waters.

“Their navy is now bigger than the American navy,” Brandstad said.

Brandstad warned the audience about the growth of China’s power and its control over the media. Sophomore Taylor Kouski wished he had talked more about his Iowa connections.

“I wish he would have talked about coming from such a small state within the United States and going to be a diplomat for all of the United States because Iowa sometimes isn’t the most representative of America,” Kouski said.

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Kenzie Van Haaften, Staff Reporter

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