Per Mediaite, speaking with Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night, Graham floated a number of confrontational policies meant to punish and antagonize China. Graham pointed to legislation proposed by senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Martha McSally of Arizona, which would allow the U.S. to “cancel some of the debt” it owes to China.
But that is not enough, Graham suggested. The senator likened China to Iran, arguing that China is the “largest state sponsor of pandemics” just as Iran is considered the “largest state sponsor of terrorism,” calling for sanctions on the country.
“We sanctioned the hell out of Iran for spreading terrorism — we ought to sanction the hell out of China for spreading pandemics.”
According to Graham, sanctions need to be put in place not only to protect the U.S., but also to protect the entire world from Chinese aggression.
“I would like to put sanctions on China not just for the United States, but for the entire world. This is the third pandemic to come out of China. Enough is enough,” the South Carolina Republican stated.
Graham added that bringing the supply chain back from China is a “no brainer,” arguing that the government needs to subsidize businesses in order to incentivize them to manufacture goods in the U.S. Those that refuse to do so and keep their production in China, he said, need to be treated differently.
“Lets bring it back into this country by using carrots and sticks by telling businesses: if you relocate your supply chain we will give you a tax break,” he said.
Graham is not the first Republican to adopt a hawkish stance toward China. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a slew of congressional Republicans have called for a rethinking of U.S. policy toward the country.
Notably, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas argued on Friday that China is America’s “greatest geopolitical threat” and needs to be treated such. Cruz shared revelations from the National Institutes of Health. According to the NIH, $76,000 was allocated to a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where COVID-19 is thought to have originated.
Initially, evidence suggested that the virus spread from a wet market in the Chinese city, but according to new allegations from U.S. officials, COVID-19 may have spread from a laboratory in Wuhan. The officials do not claim the coronavirus was released on purpose, but rather that the Chinese did not take the necessary precautions to ensure the virus doesn’t spread from the labs in which it was reportedly studied.