On Thursday’s edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, GOP Senator Josh Hawley told host Tucker Carlson that he believes there should be an investigation into the origins of coronavirus, which allegedly came from Wuhan, China. As reported by Newsweek, Hawley also suggested that China should be forced to pay for the damages caused by the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.
“We ought to have an international investigation into where this came originated,” Hawley said, pointing to reports of the virus starting in the East Asian country.
“China ought to be held to account. And they ought to foot the bill for what the world, including the United States, is now suffering.”
Hawley later praised President Donald Trump‘s “aggressive response” to the pandemic. While his recent coronavirus approach has received praise, Newsweek noted that the president previously downplayed the severity of the crisis.
"China’s bid for domination is the greatest security threat to this country in this century. And our foreign policy around the globe must be oriented to this challenge and focused principally on this threat."
—Sen. Josh Hawley pic.twitter.com/lp9pupcpno
— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) November 12, 2019
Although some theories suggest COVID-19 was the product of laboratory research in China — some going so far as to suggest it was a bioweapon — Science Daily reported that it is the product of natural evolution. Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and co-author of a recent paper on the subject, claims that coronavirus “originated through natural processes.”
Researcher Josie Golding, who was not involved in the study, said the recent data by Andersen and her team should end “any speculation about deliberate genetic engineering.”
Regardless, the recent spike in U.S. cases has pushed Trump and his allies to take aim at China for its handling of the outbreak. The president has used the “Chinese virus” tag to refer to the coronavirus, which he claims is intended to remind Americans of the origins of the disease.
Writing for CNN, Stephen Collinson claimed that the recent focus on China is partly a political play. He noted that Trump has aligned himself with Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who called for the Communist Party of China to be held “accountable” for its role in the spread of the coronavirus.
“Bashing Beijing has worked for Trump before, helping him bond with midwestern working class voters who blame Chinese industry for stealing their blue-collar jobs.”
Collinson suggested that it may not be long before Trump begins to float the idea of China paying for coronavirus damages, echoing Hawley’s recent comments to Carlson.
“Just wait for Donald Trump to demand that China pay for the pandemic — just like Mexico was going to pay for the wall,” Collinson wrote.