Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) says no matter what the United States does in response to China’s handling of the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, its reputation around the globe is damaged beyond repair.
During an appearance on the Fox News Channel on Thursday, Florida’s senior U.S. Senator was asked about reports tying a Chinese government lab to the outbreak. He explained his concerns but noted if it had happened in the United States, there would be a much grander show of accountability for those involved.
“Well, I think it’s one worth paying attention to. It would be a dramatic, earth-shattering revelation if, in fact, it turns out to be the case. And that would be the case for two reasons. Number one, it’s one thing that someone became infected in the lab and may have infected some other people. That’s concerning that the same safety standards there are not high. But another thing completely is that a government, when they learn of it, would actively attempt to cover it up as they have if that’s the case. You know, from the very beginning of this crisis, the Chinese have been less than transparent. If something happened like that in the United States, there would be, because we are an open society and democracy, there would be almost immediate accountability and revelation about it at some point. And there would be a big price to pay for covering that up legally and politically. It could be a tremendous global scandal, one of the most outrageous things to happen in the modern history of the world if that were to turn out to be true.”
Rubio was pressed by FNC host Martha MacCallum about how China might be held to account, if directly responsible. He told her the outbreak was much like what had happened at the nuclear power disaster of Chernobyl in the old Soviet Union, and how that government attempted to conceal the accident from the rest of the world.
“You know, it’s reminiscent somewhat of Chernobyl, which was obviously, that accident a while back and ironically there was the series recently about it and the way the Soviet government reacted to that. If this turns out to be the case, it’s very reminiscent of that. You’re already seeing some people in Africa and poor countries saying that China should be contributing to some sort of global fund to help pay reparations for what they’ve gone through. But I think there will be some tough conversations throughout the world about what needs to be done in regards to this. But I think no matter what, at this point, no matter what you may be reading, some articles out there by some of these people who think they know it all here’s the truth. China’s reputation globally has already been badly damaged. There are plenty of countries out there that know exactly how China mishandled this, irrespective of whether this came out of that lab or not. They’re not out there talking about it because their economies are not big enough to take China on directly. But the damage that China has suffered to its perception around the world is, in many ways, irreparable.”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor