From BUSINESS INSIDER:
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said he was looking into holding China “accountable” for the coronavirus pandemic that has caused the US to enact strict travel measures.
“I have every confidence America will once again marshal the resolve, toughness, and genius of our people to overcome the serious threat to our health and well-being posed by the Wuhan coronavirus,” Cotton said in a statement on Thursday.
Cotton, like many other Republican lawmakers, have scrutinized China, where scientists believe the coronavirus originated. Although the exact source of the virus is still under investigation, China-based scientists believe it may have come from a wildlife market in Wuhan.
Earlier in February, Cotton did not rule out the possibility that the coronavirus may have been developed by the Chinese in a “superlaboratory,” and that the damage from the virus could be “worse than Chernobyl.”
Cotton has since closed down his office in Washington D.C. and ordered his staff to work remotely, after a congressional aide tested positive.
From Common Dreams:
Critics slammed [Hawkish Sen. Tom] Cotton for exploiting the deadly pandemic to beat the drums of war as the U.S. struggles to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
“When all you have is a hammer and you’re also a moron, every problem is a nail and you keep hitting your own fingers,” tweeted Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council.
Cotton’s statement Thursday was not the first time the senator has indulged in conspiracy theories related to the origins of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 130,000 people and killed nearly 5,000 worldwide.
In a Feb. 17 appearance on Fox News, Cotton parroted the unfounded claim that coronavirus may have emerged from a biochemical lab in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
“We don’t know where it originated, and we have to get to the bottom of that,” Cotton said. “We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.”
Cotton went on to acknowledge that there is “no evidence” the virus originated in the Wuhan lab.
Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post last month that “there’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered.”
“The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded,” said Ebright.