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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called Wednesday for China to be held accountable for its role in the coronavirus pandemic, telling “The Story with Martha MacCallum” the virus could have been contained as a “regional outbreak” had Beijing’s Communist government acted promptly.
“You know, China has has long been the most significant geopolitical threat the United States faces,” Cruz said. “And we’ve always viewed it as a human rights offense when they censor and silence free speech.
“We’ve now seen that it’s not just a human rights threat, but it is also a threat to national security and global health when it … comes to this Wuhan outbreak,” he added.
Cruz went on to say China “has direct responsibility” for covering up the outbreak.
“When you had brave physician whistleblowers blowing the whistle, the Chinese government came down on them. They silenced them,” Cruz said. “They did everything they could to keep it quiet. And had they acted promptly, there may well have been a possibility this could have been contained as a regional outbreak. Instead, it … became a global pandemic and the lives lostt — many, many of those are directly at China’s doorstep.”
The senator said he introduced legislation Wednesday to sanction Chinese officials who engage in “actively censoring and silencing public health information that endangers the lives Americans and people around the globe.”
Fox News, citing multiple sources who have been briefed on early actions by Beijing and have seen relevant materials, reported Wednesday night that U.S. officials are increasingly confident that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States.
Cruz said after the pandemic subsides, China must be held accountable for “covering it up and suppressing” important information.
The Texas senator also said he wants to reassess China’s role in America’s supply chain.
“Too much of our medical products and our pharmaceuticals are manufactured in China and they threaten the lives of Americans cutting off vital medicines,” Cruz said. “We need to bring critical, critical infrastructure back to the United States of America.”
Fox News’ Gregg Re and Bret Baier contributed to this report.