Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a stark message for the governors gathered in Washington this weekend: The Chinese government is watching them, and other state government officials, more closely than they think.
Pompeo told some 44 governors at the National Governors Association winter meeting that they are being individually analyzed by at least one Chinese government-backed think-tank on how malleable they are, and how prone to cooperate with China. And he warned governors to be cautious on everything from business deals to pension funds to the D.C. metro system.
“They’ve labeled each of you friendly, hardline or ambiguous,” he said, describing a report put out by the think tank last year. “I’ll let you decide where you think you belong. Someone in China already has. Many of you indeed, in the report are referenced by name.”
The Chinese think tank that rated the governors was not named by Pompeo.
Update: Axios has just written a piece on how the Beijing-based policy shop, D&C Think Tank, has rated all the governors (report here).