Rubio fundraises at NBA game after calling it a 'partner' of 'the Chinese Communist Party'

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The Florida Republican senator has been a fierce critic of both the National Basketball Association and the Chinese government.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) held a fundraising event at a basketball game in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday night despite his recent criticism of the National Basketball Association for doing business with the Chinese government.

According to an invitation sent by Rubio's campaign fundraising consultant, donors were asked to contribute at least $1,000 to Rubio's reelection campaign to attend the Orlando Magic game against the Washington Wizards. Representatives of corporations and other special interest groups were asked to donate $2,500 from their political action committees in order to join Team Rubio at the Capital One Arena in Washington.

"Senator Rubio's race is one of the top incumbent races in the 2022 Cycle," the contribution request noted. "We are working extremely hard to ensure the Senator has every resource necessary to fight."

Earlier this month, Rubio co-authored a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that said, "Over the years, the NBA has continued to overlook the egregious human rights abuses committed by the CCP, allowing the CCP politics to play a significant role in the NBA's business decisions."

Last month, Rubio wrote in National Review editorial under the headline "American Big Business Must Stop Colluding with China." But that does not appear to have altered his own fundraising strategy.

The fundraiser came just one day after Rubio delivered an address to the right-wing Heritage Foundation warning that the "threat of Communist China" was the "gravest threat facing America today."

A Rubio spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the fundraising event.

Rubio has frequently attacked China's ruling regime and the NBA's business relationship with it.

At a Senate hearing in October 2019, Rubio told colleagues, "As we saw last week, the NBA has learned that you really can't ignore politics in China if you are doing business with or in China, because your business partner is the Chinese Communist Party."

"China regulating speech in America is dangerous & is actually happening via @NBA," he tweeted around the same time — a reference to a controversial social media post that was written and later deleted by then-Houston Rockets team general manager Daryl Morey in support of protesters in Hong Kong.

In July 2020, Rubio told Fox News, "The NBA's in the same place as a lot of large corporations are when they go into China: They have to look the other way on some pretty atrocious actions on the part of the Chinese Communist Party."

Rubio has also mocked NBA players' commitment to racial justice, calling them "hypocrites" for not also speaking out about China's human rights violations.

"I thought the @NBA was proud to be the 'wokest professional sports league'? I guess that only applies to speaking out on American politics & social issues," Rubio wrote in 2019.

Polls show that Rubio is facing a competitive reelection race this November. Florida Rep. Val Demings is likely to be his Democratic challenger.

The Wizards won the game, 127-110.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.