Ted W. Lieu was born on March 29, 1969 in Taipei, Taiwan. His family immigrated to America when Ted was three years old. In 1991 Lieu graduated with bachelor’s degrees in computer science and political science from Stanford University, and three years later he received a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He then served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1995-99; an attorney with the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson from 2000-03; and an attorney with UBS from 2003-05.
Lieu launched his political career in 2002, when he began a three-year stint on the city council of Torrance, California. After serving as a member of the California State Assembly from 2005-10, he ran for the office of California Attorney General but lost the Democratic nomination to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. Lieu then set his sights on the California State Senate, where he held a seat from 2011-14. And in a 2014 campaign that was endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America, Lieu was elected to succeed the retiring Henry Waxman as the Representative for California’s 33rd Congressional District in the U.S. House. He is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
In December 2011, then-State Senator Lieu announced that he was conducting a personal boycott of all Lowe’s home-improvement stores in his district because of a decision by that corporation to withdraw its advertising from the TLC program All-American Muslim, a show with abysmally low Nielsen ratings. Troubled by the fact that the move by Lowe’s came shortly after the Florida Family Association had criticized the program for its pro-Islamic propaganda, Lieu accused the store of “bigotry.” Moreover, he said he was “looking into” whether “they’ve broken any law” and threatened possible “legislative remedies.”
Also during his tenure in the California Senate, Lieu, who unequivocally believes that human activity is a factor in the creation of potentially catastrophic climate change, co-authored Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. This legislation required “a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas emissions” as part of a “comprehensive, long-term approach” to saving the environment. In 2015 Lieu introduced a similar measure, the Climate Change Solutions Act, in Congress. He is also in favor of increasing carbon taxes, raising CAFE standards for American-made automobiles, and using federal funds for research into wind, solar, and other alternative-energy resources.
Committed to the notion that illegal aliens residing in the United States today should be offered a pathway-to-citizenship, Lieu calls for increased immigration to the U.S. by impoverished, low-skilled peasants from Central America. “I think it’s easy for people like you and me who wear suits and ties and work in offices to cast aspersions on those with a tenth-grade education,” he told a congressional hearing in 2015, “… But let’s talk about some of these folks with a tenth-grade education…. I have had the opportunity to meet over the years many farmworkers who have had families die under brutal conditions in the heat so that you or I can have less expensive orange juice, cheaper artichokes, or less expensive garlic . . . and I just want to suggest that these people have given far more to American society than you or I ever will.”
In September 2015 Lieu praised Pope Francis for the “inspirational comments” he had made during a speech to Congress on what Lieu termed “fierce and urgent issues like immigration, income inequality, the death penalty and climate change.” Specifically, the pope had made a case for higher levels of immigrant and refugee admittance, the redistribution of wealth, the abolition of capital punishment, and the implementation of measures to counteract “the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”
Lieu detested Republican Donald Trump from the moment the latter was elected President in 2016, and he never viewed Trump as a legitimate president – not even for even the briefest moment. The congressman first registered his contempt for Trump by joining dozens of fellow Democrats in boycotting the Inauguration in January 2017. A few days later, Lieu asserted that “our leader is potentially unhinged … and that is highly disturbing.” Wherever Trump’s name appeared in Lieu’s press releases, the congressman placed asterisks linking to a footnote that said: “In addition to losing the popular vote, Trump … is in violation of the Emoluments Clause … of the U.S. Constitution due to massive conflicts of interests and his refusal to put his global business holdings in blind trusts. Trump also benefited from Vladimir Putin ordering a multifaceted and brazen Russian influence and cyber hacking campaign with the goals of undermining faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrating Secretary Clinton’s electability, and helping Trump’s election chances. Trump and his press secretary also routinely make stuff up.” Moreover, Lieu’s website featured a “Cloud of Illegitimacy Clock,” which measured the length of Trump’s “illegitimate” term in the White House.
In October 2017, Lieu, on behalf of a left-wing Asian-American organization, presented an award to Islamist extremist Linda Sarsour in recognition of her leadership role in having organized the January 2017 “Women’s March” — a massive anti-conservative, anti-Trump rally in Washington, D.C.
In January 2019, Lieu told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “Democrats will never cave to Donald Trump’s demands” regarding the construction of a border wall. Said the congressman: “Wolf, elections have consequences. Last year, Republicans ran on building the wall. Democrats ran on health care and infrastructure, and Republicans lost the popular vote in the midterms by the largest margin in U.S. history. So, Democrats are not going to cave in on this wall demand. Because the American people do not support the wall.”
In January 2019 as well, Lieu criticized Second Lady Karen Pence’s decision to take a job as an art teacher at a private Christian school that: (a) does not permit gay students to attend, and (b) requires employees to affirm their belief that marriage should only be a union between one man and one woman. “I’m a follower of Christ,” Lieu tweeted. “You know what Jesus said about homosexuality? NOTHING. But he did say a lot about love. Stop cloaking your hate in your purported religious beliefs. It’s just hate.”
At an April 2019 House Judiciary Committee hearing on hate crimes and white nationalism, Lieu played a 30-second audio clip of comments that conservative activist Candace Owens had made about Adolf Hitler and nationalism four months earlier. Lieu falsely characterized those remarks as an attempt “to legitimize Adolf Hitler” and did not give Owens an opportunity to respond to his charges. Owens did subsequently have a chance to respond to Lieu, thanks to a Republican senator giving her time to do so. To view the full exchange between Lieu and Owens, including Owens’s response to Lieu’s accusation, click here.
In July 2019, Lieu reacted angrily when Donald Trump suggested that four hard-left congresswomen – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley – should – instead of “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States … how our government is to be run,” “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Lieu tweeted the following response to Trump: “What makes America exceptional is we are a nation of immigrants. As an immigrant who served on active duty, I am appalled you are telling us to ‘go back.’ I’m not going back. America is our home. And I will still be in Congress after your racist ass leaves.” Lieu later doubled down on his remarks: “I never thought I’d see the day when a president was telling immigrants to go back to where we came from. Donald Trump is demonstrating he’s a racist ass. He’s not uniting us. I can’t wait until he leaves the office of the presidency.”
On August 14, 2019, Lieu was angered when the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, voiced support for the Israeli government’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel as part of a junket sponsored by the notoriously anti-Semitic nongovernmental organization MIFTAH. Lieu, in response, accused Friedman of having dual loyalties to the United States and Israel. “His allegiance, again, is [should be] to America, not to a foreign power,” said Lieu, adding: “It is outrageous that the U.S. government is working against having an American go visit a relative in Israel. I think he [Friedman] should resign.” In a tweet directed at Friedman shortly thereafter, Lieu stated: “You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.” Later on the night of the 14th, Lieu tweeted an apology: “It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to [Friedman] raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the [earlier] tweet.”
In a November 26, 2020 appearance on MSNBC, Lieu stated that Congress needed to hold former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn “accountable” because President Trump’s pardon of him, earlier that day, was “corrupt.” Said Lieu: “I do believe that Congress needs to hold Michael Flynn accountable. But let’s first be grateful that Michael Flynn was, in fact, fired and did not serve as national security adviser for the last four years because that would have been a corrupt disaster. That’s in large part due to the professionalism and hard work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And I want to commend the FBI for their investigation into Michael Flynn. Now, this pardon itself is corrupt. I agree with Chairman [Jerrold] Nadler that he was dangled a pardon. That’s why he remained silent and did not incriminate Donald Trump. But now that the pardon has happened, his Fifth Amendment right regarding this issue goes away, and Michael Flynn will now have to testify about what Donald Trump knew related to Russia.”
In a January 11, 2021 appearance on CNN’s The Lead, Lieu called for the prosecution of any Republicans in Congress who might be found, after an investigation, to have “incited” the January 6 incident where several hundred people claiming to be Trump supporters had temporarily occupied the Capitol building in Washington to protest what they viewed as a stolen presidential election. “I support both Representatives Cori Bush and Tom Malinowski and their efforts [to expel House members who voted to overturn election votes],” Lieu said. “I also note incitement to insurrection is a federal crime. So anyone who incites insurrection should be investigated and prosecuted. No one is above the law, not the president and not members of Congress. So I hope federal prosecutors and the FBI are looking at what some of these Republican members of Congress did to have January 6th happen.” Asked if he meant an investigation by the House Ethics Committee or the FBI, Lieu replied: “Both. The House should investigate some of these Republican members as well as federal law enforcement.”
In March 2021, Liew drew a connection between former President Trump and a March 16 mass killing in which a 21-year-old Georgia gunman named Robert Aaron Long had opened fire at three separate spas in the Atlanta area, killing eight people — at least six of whom were women of Asian descent. Shortly after the shooting, Lieu used his Twitter account to write: “According to this report, 6 of the 8 murder victims in the Atlanta area mass shooting are Asian women. Was this a hate crime? We need more evidence. But we do know the alleged murderer targeted three locations where the victims would disproportionately be Asian women.” In a subsequent tweet, the congressman wrote: “The former president used racist phrases like Kung Flu that inflamed discrimination against the Asian American community. Officials that continue to use ethnic identifiers in describing the virus are part of the problem.”
In a March 19, 2021 appearance on MSNBC’s Deadline, Lieu, discussing an alleged spike in anti-Asian crimes in the U.S. during 2020, claimed that former President Trump, by referring to the coronavirus as the “China virus” and “Kung flu,” had given people “permission to attack” Asian-Americans. “I was at the House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on violence against Asian-Americans,” Lieu said, “and we had professors present studies and reports that showed there was a link between the racist rhetoric of the former president and the increase in hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian-Americans. When the former president uses terms like Kung flu, racist terms in describing this virus, it gives people more permission to attack Americans who happen to be of Asian descent. I am not a virus, and there is really no evidence whatsoever that Asian-Americans somehow transmit this virus more than anybody else.”
As matters of principle, Lieu believes that:
For a more detailed look at Lieu’s voting record, click here.
For additional information on Ted Lieu, click here.
Further Reading: “Ted Lieu” (Votesmart.org, Keywiki.org, Ballotpedia.org); “All-American Muslim: Threats, Intimidation, & Hate” (by Daniel Greenfield, 12-11-2011, re: the Lowe’s boycott); “The Lowe’s Boycott” (National Review, 12-13-2011); Ted Lieu on Immigration (Lieu.house.gov); “Congressman Ted. W. Lieu Statement on Pope Francis’ Speech” (9-24-2015); “Democrat Ted Lieu Affirms Support for Extremist, Terror-Supporting Linda Sarsour” (by Joel Pollack, 10-22-2018); “Should Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) Be Court-Martialed?” (by Joel Pollack, 1-26-2017, re: Trump’s alleged illegitimacy); “Lieu: ‘Democrats Will Never Cave to Donald Trump’s Demands in a Government Shutdown’” (Breitbart.com, 1-3-2019); “Democratic Rep Lieu Accuses Pence ‘f ‘Cloaking Your Hate’ in Christianity” (Daily Caller, 1-18-2019); “Ted Lieu: Trump a ‘Racist Ass’” (The Hill, 7-15-2019); “Rep. Ted Lieu Isn’t an Anti-Semite, He’s Just an Idiot” (Washington Examiner, 8-16-2019); Ted Lieu’s Positions on Numerous Key Issues (OnTheIssues.org).