The coronavirus outbreak presents a “moment of reckoning” for the United States in reevaluating its approach towards China, assessed Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) during an interview with Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily.
Marlow noted the myriad of political issues related to viral outbreak, from national immigration, industrial, and manufacturing policies. He highlighted America’s dependence on Chinese exports of generic and over-the-counter drugs.
“We are now largely dependent on China having outsourced so much of our pharmaceutical manufacturing for basic pharmaceutical ingredients, like Tylenol or Advil,” Cotton stated. “They feel empowered to threaten our people if we hurt their feelings, if we extend the travel ban. So we have to have the immediate response to the Wuhan coronavirus, but this is a moment of reckoning in which we will have a far-reaching reevaluation of our relationship with China.”
China could effectively shut down America’s healthcare system within months given the one-party state’s “global chokehold” on the manufacturing of medicines and medical supplies, explained Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, to Breitbart News in February.
Attitudes towards China among politicians, particularly Republicans, are changing as a result of President Donald Trump, determined Cotton.
“I can tell you that increasingly people are now awake to this threat [from China],” Cotton remarked. “President Trump has done very good job with, frankly, Republicans in Washington over the last four years to make them think a little bit less like corporate managers a little bit more like American patriots first. We made a lot of wrong turns with China over the last 30 years. Now’s the time to fix that, and it’s time to fix it urgently.”
Cotton considered calibrating federal government policy to promote domestic production of medicines towards lessening U.S. dependence on Chinese pharmaceutical exports.
“f you are engaged, for instance, in manufacturing basic pharmaceutical ingredients in China, I suggest to you that you need to pack up and get out, and if you don’t do it quickly, then the U.S. government may do it for you,” Cotton stated.
Asked by Marlow about Congress’s next moves in addressing the coronavirus threat, Cotton replied, “One thing I’m working on particularly is trying to get Deb Fischer’s legislation that would provide many more masks for our healthcare professionals across the finish line this week. This bill should have passed last week as part of our supplemental bill.”
Democrats are prioritizing trial lawyers over health and safety for healthcare professionals, Cotton said.
“Sen. Fisher has been working on it from the very beginning when we learned that we might face a mask shortage in this country as early as late April, [and] unfortunately the Democrats objected,” Cotton stated. “They put the request of ambulance-chasing trial lawyers to have jackpot justice lawsuits down the road ahead of the safety of our great doctors and nurses.”
Cotton warned that Democrats may seek to include irrelevant spending within coronavirus-related emergency funding legislation.
Cotton continued, “I hope we get that passed today, whether it’s part of a bigger package, which would be harder to pass or if the Democrats would simply just relent and let it pass by voice vote, because it would be unanimous or near unanimous if we did that. That’s the most immediate thing on which I’m working, because we cannot — whatever happens — we cannot create more doctors and nurses. We can create more test kits. We can create new quarantine sites. We cannot create a new doctor and nurse, and if they don’t have the masks they need to protect themselves as they’re caring for our people, it will be a travesty, and it will be because Democrats put trial lawyers ahead of doctors.”
Marlow invited Cotton’s comments on Joe Biden’s vision of China.
“Joe Biden, as Robert Gates said, has been wrong on every major foreign policy question of the last 40 years,” replied Cotton. “You actually have to update that to, say, 50 years now? Because he still doesn’t believe that China is a competitor of ours. He still calls the Chinese Communist Party ‘good folks.’”
The coronavirus outbreak “is a feature, not a bug” of communism, declared Cotton, recalling the Chinese Communist Party’s conduct.
“What we see with the Wuhan coronavirus, it’s not a bug. It is a feature of Communist Party rule,” Cotton said. “If the Chinese Communist Party had simply been open and transparent in early December, if they acknowledged they had a problem, if they had asked for support from the World Health Organization and world-class scientists, not just from the United States but from countries like South Korea and Japan and the countries of Europe, we might have been able to contain this inside of Wuhan, inside of Hubei province. But no, they acted like communists. They suppressed information. They visited people in the middle of the night who tried to blow the whistle on this virus, and now look where we are.”
Cotton concluded, “Joe Biden [is] very, very weak on China, a defining issue for our times,” adding, “Joe Biden has been on China’s side for 40 years, not on your side.”
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