Thomas-Greenfield was already questioned by multiple senators in private meetings about an Oct. 25, 2019, speech she gave on “China-U.S.-Africa Relationships” at the Savannah State University Confucius Institute’s fifth anniversary lecture event. Several Senate aides said the speech was too optimistic and soft regarding China’s policies and intentions in Africa at a time when the U.S. government was trying to shed light on China’s many abuses there.

She called for “a win-win-win situation” in Africa, one in which the United States and China would work together to promote values there such as good governance, gender equity and the rule of law, according to a copy of her speech I obtained.

“I see no reason why China cannot share in those values,” she said. “In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent.”