A lengthy Republican memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee advises members of the party not to defend Donald Trump on the coronavirus, but instead use their energy attacking China.
As Politico reported, the 57-page memo written by a top GOP strategist contains a number of suggestions for how to attack China and claim ties between Democratic candidates and China. It claimed that China covered up evidence of the coronavirus outbreak, that Democrats have been too soft on China, and that Republicans will push for sanctions on China for its role in the outbreak of the deadly virus.
“Coronavirus was a Chinese hit-and-run followed by a cover-up that cost thousands of lives,” says the memo, which was credited to the political strategist firm O’Donnell & Associates.
As Politico noted, the firm behind the memo is led by Brett O’Donnell, a longtime Republican strategist who has worked with current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It was published last week, the report claimed.
The memo calls on Republicans to remain focused on China, making the country and its role in the coronavirus outbreak a centerpiece of the 2020 presidential campaign by trying to tie presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden to the country. As the report noted, the Trump campaign and pro-Trump super PACs have already released a video claiming that Biden is too cozy with China.
The memo also advises members not to get caught up in actually defending the president.
“Don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China,” the memo read.
Trump has been widely criticized for his response to the coronavirus, which included spending weeks at the start of the outbreak downplaying its severity and predicting that the number of cases would soon go down to zero. He has countered this by touting the travel ban from China as an important step in slowing the spread of the virus.
The president has since taken a more serious stance toward the coronavirus, and a more aggressive approach toward blaming China. As NBC News reported, this included questioning whether China has been truthful in reporting the number of people dead in the country from COVID-19.
“Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China. … Does anybody really believe that?” Trump said at a daily White House briefing on the coronavirus this week. “Some countries are in big, big trouble and they’re not reporting the facts — and that’s up to them.”