President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as Ambassador to China, who has a strong relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Ian Millhiser at Think Progress took a shot at the decision because, you know, no matter what Trump does the liberals will hate it.

Millhiser responded to Trump’s pick by saying that the governor from a “landlocked state full of white people” does not know enough about China. Let’s tell him a bit about Iowa and China’s relationship!


Maybe Millhiser should research before he says anything because not only will Branstad’s friendship with Xi come in handy, but so will the economic ties between China and Iowa. Yes, the country and state:

China is Iowa’s second-largest export market, behind Canada. Figures from the U.S.-China Business Council show Iowa exported $2.3 billion in goods and $273 million in services to China in 2015. Crop production accounted for some $1.4 billion of the exports. Agricultural machinery, chemicals and other products were also sold.

Not only that, but let’s look at other ambassadors. Max Baucus currently serves as ambassador to China under President Barack Obama. Guess his home state! MONTANA. Jon Huntsman was born in California, but grew up in…UTAH! Joseph Prueher and Jim Sasser served as ambassadors to China. Both are from Tennessee.

Unlike Millhiser, the Chinese welcomed the news:

“First of all, I would like to say that Mr. Branstad is an old friend of the Chinese people and we welcome him to play a greater role in promoting Sino-U. S. relations,” spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news conference.

“The U.S. ambassador to China is an important bridge between the U.S. government and the Chinese government. No matter who is in this position, we are willing to work with him to push forward the sound, steady and steady development of Sino-U. S. relations.”

This could help relations since Trump rattled China a bit when he spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen last Friday. His transition team called it a courtesy call, but the Chinese lodged a protest with Washington:

“It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday, adding that it had lodged “solemn representations with the US”.

The call forced the White House to tell China that America still abides by its “one China” policy.

Xi struck up a friendship with Branstad on a visit in 1985 on an agriculture trip, which has lasted over 30 years. Xi returned in 2012, right before he became president of China, and Branstad hosted a dinner for his old friend. Branstad has also “visited China four times in the past seven years.”

Branstad became a regular figure in Iowa for Trump during the campaign with his son Eric serving “as state director for Trump’s campaign.” In early November, Trump told Branstad that he “would be our prime candidate to take care of China” at a rally in Sioux City.