Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday criticized President Donald Trump's pledge to help Chinese technology company ZTE, saying he hopes the president is not "backing down" from his hawkish stance on China.
The Florida Republican's criticism marks the first backlash to the president's effort from a notable lawmaker within his own party. Trump's reversal on ZTE, which he announced in a tweet Sunday, comes amid a high-stakes trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
In a tweet Monday morning, Rubio argued that the "problem with ZTE isn't jobs & trade, it's national security & espionage." He said telecom companies "can be forced to act as a tool of Chinese espionage."
"We are crazy to allow them to operate in U.S. without tighter restrictions," the Senate Intelligence Committee member wrote.