With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across the world, governments are struggling to manage the crisis and soften the blow of the looming economic meltdown. After initially downplaying the threat, President Donald Trump‘s administration — in collaboration with state and local governments — undertook significant measures to stop the spread of the virus and stimulate the economy.
Indicating that the federal government is changing course, the president said in a recent interview that he wants to reopen the United States economy by Easter. Not everyone agrees with Trump’s approach. Per Mediaite, in an interview with Fox News broadcast on Wednesday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas shared his thoughts on the situation, issuing an apparent threat to China.
Speaking with Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, Cotton said that he would also “love” to see the economy open by Easter, but urged caution. “The one thing we don’t want to see is a relaxing of some of the restrictions on public activities and then a resurgence of the pandemic,” the senator said, adding that the government’s response will have to “require more testing and more personal protective equipment for our doctors and our nurses.”
According to Cotton, both Trump and the federal government need to work together with local and state leaders in order to ensure that the pandemic is handled. The senator argued that assessments need to be made “on a regional or even local basis” in order to not only prevent the spread of the virus but also to make sure that the health care system is not overwhelmed.
Doocy then brought up an op-ed penned by Cotton and Republican Sen. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, in which the two argue that China “stole” American capacity to produce drugs. Cotton responded by pointing out that “things like antibiotics and ibuprofen and Advil are made in China for the most part,” and arguing that manufacturing needs to be brought back to the United States.
The senator then issued what appeared to be a threat to China, blaming the country for the pandemic.
“China unleashed this plague on the world, and there will be a reckoning when we’re on the backside of it.”
As Mediaite notes, Cotton has previously suggested that there needs to be a “reckoning,” without explaining what that would entail. The senator is known for his hawkish foreign policy views. In 2017, The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan suggested that he may be “America’s most dangerous senator,” because of his “relentless obsession with confronting Iran.”
Trump has also suggested that China is to blame for the pandemic. The president has been criticized for his use of the phrase “Chinese virus,” with critics suggesting that he is trying to shift attention from his own administration’s failures.