Screenshot: VOA China

In newly surfaced footage from a February 2018 interview on Voice of America (VOA) China, the U.S. government-funded broadcasting service, Republican U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was asked if he wanted to offer a message to the network’s audience, which at the time was celebrating the Chinese New Year. He took the opportunity to riff on the racist trope about Chinese people eating dogs.

“Well, let me just note, coming in is the Year of the Dog,” Rohrabacher said. “Now, there are some people in the United States who don’t like it that Chinese people eat dog. And I want them, the Chinese people, to know, that we eat bunnies over here, and we eat all kinds of little animals. I don’t blame them for eating dog. I mean, if that’s what tastes good, that’s what tastes good.”

This is the interviewer’s reaction to Rohrabacher volunteering his opinion about dog meat, which was, coincidentally, also my reaction.

“We should make sure that we reach out to the Chinese people so they understand us, and we understand them,” Rohrabacher continued. “And we don’t attack their ways, they don’t attack our ways. But in fact, I believe that the Chinese people are America’s and the world’s greatest allies in seeking a peaceful world. Because they don’t want to live under tyranny and they want to live prosperous lives.

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“So let them know in China that many people like myself—we don’t like their government, and we think the Chinese government is a real threat to the future of peace in the world—but the Chinese people, we can all be friends and work together for a much better world in the years ahead,” Rohrabacher said.

The interview, which was first surfaced by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge, aired in February, but hasn’t been publicized in America until now. It comes as Rohrabacher is locked in a tight re-election battle against Democrat Harley Rouda for California’s 48th Congressional District; a recent New York Times poll found them in a dead heat.

This also isn’t the first time Rohrabacher’s floated his thoughts on this topic. Back in 2016, Rohrabacher engaged a number of people on Twitter in a very weird debate about the whole thing after he refused to co-sponsor legislation condemning the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin, China, which has generated outrage in the Western media for years.

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Rohrabacher also seems to just have a weird thing about dogs in general, not unlike President Donald Trump.

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We’ve reached out to both Rohrabaher’s office and congressional campaign as well as the Rouda campaign for comment and we’ll update if we hear back.