EXCLUSIVE: Inside the Trump administration's plan to combat China and protect free speech

Campus Reform sat down with Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff, Marc Short.

Short hinted at more action to come with regards to China's influence over American college campuses.

This week, Campus Reform sat down with Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, to discuss the Trump administration’s message to voters ahead of the 2020 election, as well as its plans to combat Chinese influence on American college campuses. 

According to Short, “voters are going to have a stark contrast this November. They’ll have an opportunity to choose between hope and opportunity vs. socialism and decline.” Short went on to say he felt of the Democrat party, “what was once radical is now mainstream...They’re more or less fully embracing the unity package between Biden and Sanders that leads to a true socialist future for our country.”

Short shared the administration’s thoughts on whether colleges and universities should reopen, saying “we do encourage that students have an opportunity to learn inside the classroom and if universities are not going to provide that we do think there should be some sort of rebate provided to students.”

[RELATED: China’s presence at US colleges runs much deeper than Confucius Institutes]

“We look at the data constantly of the coronavirus… the reality is for people 25 and younger, coronavirus is ten times less fatal than the common flu. We don’t shut down universities for the common flu. Now conversely we recognize coronavirus is more serious for older populations… and in cases it probably is appropriate to have virtual learning.”

When asked about the state of free speech on America’s college campuses, Short said “Unfortunately today on most college campuses you’re inundated with intolerance from the Left. I think our administration wants to advocate that colleges should be an opportunity to learn from all different sides and hear all different viewpoints. Our administration is going to continue to advance pushes to protect free speech. We’re very saddened to see college campuses in many cases limiting the full spectrum of debate inside the classroom. We want to make sure those freedoms are protected.”

Touching on the administration’s efforts to curtail the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on campus, Short hinted at the potential for future executive action. 

“There’s probably no administration that has been stronger on China in the last few decades than this administration,” he said.

“I think your viewers should stay tuned for additional action we take on Confucius Institutes, and I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but I think your viewers should rest assured that we’re going to continue to hold China accountable,” Short added.

Watch the full interview to hear what else the Trump administration plans to do in order to combat China, protect free speech, and safely reopen schools in the fall. 

[RELATED: Here are the Chinese ‘propaganda’ centers currently operating in the US]

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Cabot_Phillips