(CNN) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a colorful critique of some new incoming members of Congress over the weekend, saying during a trip through Hong Kong that many of them "can't read."
"If you look at the U.S., you look at who we're electing to Congress, to the Senate - they can't read. I'll bet you a bunch of these people don't have passports," said Bloomberg, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We're about to start a trade war with China if we're not careful here, only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is."
Bloomberg, the former Republican-turned-independent three-term mayor of New York City, made the comments to reporters Saturday in Hong Kong after speaking to a conference of business leaders from around the world.
According to Bloomberg, the incoming crop of new Congress members have taken dangerous anti-China stances that threaten to put America's trade relationship with the world's most populated country in jeopardy.
"I think in America we've got to stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else and take a look at ourselves," Bloomberg also said, according to the paper.
Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg did not dispute the comments, saying in a statement to CNN, "Mayor Bloomberg has said for years that bashing China may make for good politics, but it isn't going to improve American schools or put Americans to work."
– CNN's Jessica Naziri contributed to this report