Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night that China was the largest “state sponsor of pandemics” in the world, and they need to be sanctioned to change their behavior.
“All the evidence indicates that they locked their country down to protect their people, and they did not tell the world about the true state of play inside of China,” Graham said. “Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism. China is the largest state sponsor of pandemics.”
“This is the third or fourth pandemic that came out of China,” Graham continued. “This may have happened, the infection may have happened in a lab, but the evidence seems to suggest it was spread at these wet markets. What did we do to Iran, who’s a bad actor? We sanctioned Iran. What should we do to the largest state sponsor of pandemics on the globe? We should sanction China to get them to change their behavior.”
“If it were not for the irresponsibility of the Chinese Communist Party, there would be no pandemic in the world,” Graham later added. “Americans would be alive today, and 22 million people would be at work. China is responsible, and it’s time to hold them responsible. They’re the largest state sponsor of pandemics in the entire globe, and they need to pay the price.”
Graham’s remarks come after two reports this week, one from The Washington Post and the other from Fox News, highlighted the Trump’s administrations growing belief that the coronavirus was accidentally leaked out of a lab in Wuhan.
“There is increasing confidence that the COVID-19 outbreak likely originated in a Wuhan laboratory, though not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States, multiple sources who have been briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government and seen relevant materials tell Fox News,” Fox News reported. “The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus – a naturally occurring strain that was being studied there – was bat-to-human and that ‘patient zero’ worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.”
“Documents detail early efforts by doctors at the lab and early efforts at containment. The Wuhan wet market initially identified as a possible point of origin never sold bats, and the sources tell Fox News that blaming the wet market was an effort by China to deflect blame from the laboratory, along with the country’s propaganda efforts targeting the U.S. and Italy,” Fox News added. “China ‘100 percent’ suppressed data and changed data, the sources tell Fox News. Samples were destroyed, contaminated areas scrubbed, some early reports erased, and academic articles stifled.”
The Associated Press reported this week that top Chinese communist officials, including President Xi Jinping, knew on January 14 that the country was facing an epidemic and that the risk of spread was high. That same day, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a tweet that stated that China has concluded that there was “no clear evidence” that the virus could not be spread human-to-human.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020