Tennessee Senate Candidate Amb. Bill Hagerty: ‘The Chinese Have Got to Be Held Accountable’

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty campaigns for the U.S. Senate Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Gallatin, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Tennessee U.S. Senate candidate Amb. Bill Hagerty (R) on Saturday blasted China for its role in trying to hide information about the coronavirus that originated in its country and has now spread throughout the world and is hurting the global economy.

“The Chinese have got to be held accountable for this,” said Bill Hagerty, who was President Trump’s ambassador to Japan, in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday with host Breitbart News Political Editor Matthew Boyle.

“They were the first country to experience, they have an obligation to the rest of the world to make this information available to us immediately and with clarity,” he said.

“But what do they do? They tried to hide the data, they destroyed samples, they tried to punish the doctors who tried to mention it in the first case, and in all likelihood, they have severely underreported the cases that are present there.”

He continued:

They’re running a public relations campaign, not a public health campaign. And they put control of their Communist regime ahead of the lives of their citizens and by the way, ahead of the lives and the wellbeing of everybody else in the world now. This has cost lives, and it’s caused economic damage on a global basis.

Hagerty called China’s attempts to now blame America for the coronavirus “beyond the pale.”

“The thing that is most frustrating [is] them trying to turn the tables and trying to blame America now, saying that this virus was originated by America,” he said. “That’s just as farfetched as anyone could imagine.”

But he said the worst thing is that China has been threatening to hold lifesaving pharmaceuticals from America, which has exposed the vulnerability of the U.S. supply chain.

“I think it’s exposed the vulnerability of our supply chains, the fact that we are dependent on China for critical resources like acetaminophen and penicillin, things like that are manufactured — sole-sourced — there in China,” he said.

“For them to threaten to withhold it, I think, has really made the point very clear: we’ve got to get our strategic supply chains out of China.”

He said President Trump, since the beginning of his administration, has begun bringing supply chains home. First, he initiated a “deregulatory thrust” to improve the business climate in America, and then tax reform bringing corporate tax rates down to “something at least competitive” with the rest of the world.

“Those steps automatically put the American economy on a global trajectory that was better than the rest of the world … companies began looking to put supply chains back in the U.S.,” he said.

He said Trump has also acted aggressively to keep Chinese companies out of critical U.S. infrastructure such as its 5G networks that the U.S. energy grid and things like autonomous cars will be tied to.

“Can you imagine having Chinese-sponsored companies, Chinese-subsidized companies embedded in our 5G system? That infrastructure is very strategic, and something that we’re going to have to protect. The president has taken very clear action to keep companies like Huawei out of the United States infrastructure,” he said.

Hagerty said he worked very hard to get Japan, one of the world’s largest economies, to also block Huawei and other Chinese companies from embedding in its 5G infrastructure.

He expressed confidence in America’s ability to get through the coronavirus crisis.

“This is a tough challenge, but America is stronger than this. We will stand up, we have the capacity to do it, and we will demonstrate that capacity,” he said. “It’s certainly the case in Tennessee — people are locking arms and we are pulling together to address this.”

Hagerty, who has been endorsed by Trump, also thanked Tennessee’s first responders in the coronavirus crisis.

“Our first responders, our doctors, our nurses, the medical professionals … they are doing a great job here in Tennessee looking after hardworking Tennessee families and trying to keep us as healthy as we possibly can be.”

For more information, visit www.teamhagerty.com.

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