The devastation of the coronavirus pandemic has Republicans calling for China to be held accountable, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
There is an emerging consensus in the GOP ranks that China is to blame for the outbreak and that America must reduce its dependence on the communist regime for medical supplies, according to the Examiner. Republicans want to repatriate manufacturing and probe the actions of China and the beleaguered World Health Organization (WHO), whose China connections have come under fire from President Donald Trump.
In just weeks, 16 million Americans have lost their jobs and over 17,000 have died, according to Reuters, all because of a deadly virus that came from China. The damage is tragic, and frankly, infuriating. Many are angry at China for leaving the world exposed to an avoidable catastrophe by silencing whistleblowers and covering up the outbreak when it started.
While Democratic lawmakers have focused on blaming President Trump, Republicans are aggressively demanding investigations to get to the bottom of China’s misbehavior and punish the country for the damage the virus has inflicted. Sen. Josh Hawley, a freshman from Missouri and leading voice of populism, has called for an international investigation into China’s actions — and even for the regime to pay reparations to countries around the world.
“Since day one, the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic,” the Republican said in a statement, according to the Examiner. “The CCP must be held to account for what the world is now suffering.”
Those strident calls have been echoed by GOP lawmakers in both chambers of Congress as the pandemic prompts a widespread reassessment of America’s relationship with China — particularly its dependence on its rival for basic medical supplies. Rep. French Hill (R-AK) is just one of them.
Echoing the “Buy American” policy of China hawk Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser, Hill has introduced a bill — just one of several floated by Republicans — to rebuild America’s domestic production capacities. “America has been caught unprepared,” Hill told the Examiner. “It’s not a Trump thing. It’s a federal government thing.”
Targeting the WHO
Beyond repatriating American manufacturing, some Republicans, like Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN), are even talking about making China eat some of the $1 trillion it owns in U.S. debt, Breitbart reported. It’s fair to say that the coronavirus has ignited an explosion of China hawk sentiment in the Republican Party — and not a day too soon.
At the same time, many Republicans now think it’s time to defund the World Health Organization, Fox News reports. President Trump has slammed the group’s “China-centric” outlook and threatened to cut off America’s generous contributions. The WHO hailed China’s “transparency” as early as January, but months later, many still doubt whether China is telling the truth about its deaths and cases.
As Trump turns up the pressure on the WHO, Republican lawmakers are calling for probes of the group and its connection with China, and some, like Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), want its director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to step down, The Hill noted. The WHO, for its part, has bitterly threatened that there will be “more body bags” if Trump does not desist from criticizing them, according to CNBC.
“I’ve never trusted a communist,” McSally told Fox Business on Thursday, according to The Hill. “And their cover-up of this virus that originated with them has caused unnecessary deaths around America and around the world.”
It’s clear that China is becoming a major Republican issue. According to RealClearPolitics, the Trump campaign released a stinging advertisement this week targeting Joe Biden’s connections with the country and his soft rhetoric toward Beijing. And this is only the beginning.