John Cena’s Apology To China Is Being Dragged As ‘Nightmarish’ And ‘Pathetic’ By Republicans, Including Marco Rubio

John Cena is not having a great week. He inadvertently sparked an international incident, and then he proceeded to clean up the mess by, uh, issuing a hot-button apology that may have made things worse. It’s a PR disaster, so let’s briefly recap here.

Cena, while promoting Fast 9 on a Taiwanese broadcast, referred to Taiwan as a “country,” and China wasn’t thrilled (because Beijing still considers Taiwan to be a territory of the People’s Republic of China, despite Taiwan being self-governed following the Chinese Civil War, which ended in 1950). The issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty will likely always be one of great contention; and Cena’s apology was almost certainly meant to smooth over any potential box-office fallout in China as the movie business struggles to recover amid the pandemic.

The results were more than awkward. The WWE star apologized in Mandarin while declaring, “I must say now, [it’s] very, very, very, very important [that] I love, and respect even more, China and the Chinese people.”

Cena finds himself within an especially difficult position, given that he’s the newest face in an established franchise that’s always come out with box-office guns blazing. That hasn’t discouraged the criticism, though. Not only are “hostage video” remarks floating around on Twitter, but prominent Republicans are pouncing all over him. Leading the way is Sen. Marco Rubio, who already tweets about China multiple times per day and says that Cena’s proving that “[a] world where #China’s Communist Party controls what Americans can say isn’t some nightmarish future threat.”

Several more Republicans weighed in, including Megyn Kelly, Mike Pompeo, Ben Shapiro, and Joe Walsh, and multiple other senators in addition to Rubio.

Some Democrats aren’t impressed either. As Keith Olbermann points out, “apologiz[ing] to a dictatorship” complicates Cena’s existing predicament.