One of the first to advocate for drastic measures to combat coronavirus was Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. Almost two weeks ago, he remarked “what seems extreme today, will seem obvious tomorrow,” as he called for most businesses to close up and Americans to stay home. He also had tough words for the country he sees as the real culprit, and told me what he thinks should be done now to help.
Senator Tom Cotton: We want to make sure that we take care of people as we get through this national challenge because it's no American's fault. It is solely the fault of China and we need to pull together as one people to come through it as one people.
Sharyl: What's the latest we know about where the coronavirus first originated specifically and why do you think it's important to know that?
Sen. Cotton: Well, here's what we know. It originated in China and that's why I insist on calling it the Wuhan virus now because the Chinese Communist Party is running Chinese language disinformation in their state media in China telling their people that, "You know what, maybe it didn't come from China, maybe it started here as the first outbreak, but maybe it came from somewhere else," because they are lying to their own people, they're lying to the world. We know it started in Wuhan. We know it didn't start in the food market, that the Chinese Communist Party first identified; in fact more than a third of the original patients had no contact with that market whatsoever. So the burden of proof is on the Chinese Communist Party, to explain where it started. Maybe it was another food market, maybe it was a farm, maybe it was a food processing factory. They do have a super laboratory there that works with coronaviruses as well. We need to make sure that that place was safe and there was no breaches there. The Chinese Communist Party refuses to cooperate with any effort though to identify that origin, which makes it harder to figure out exactly where it came from and what we can do to both test for it, to treat it from a therapy standpoint and ultimately to develop a vaccine for it. I'm simply saying that having lied to us about the origins, it's on China to come forward with proof about how this virus originated so we can learn more about it and help to treat it not only for our own people, but for everyone around the world.
Sharyl: Understanding this is nothing more than a theory, what would be the implications if this were some sort of biological experiment or accident?
Sen. Cotton: So, it would certainly undermine confidence that we have in sourcing products from China. They've had this kind of accidental breach before with SARS in 2004 from one of their laboratories. China is not known for its technical and manufacturing excellence, they often have produced ineffective products. So if it does turn out to have been an accidental release from this laboratory because of say, deficient filtration systems or an employee getting contaminated walking out or inappropriate disposable of laboratory animals. I think it should cause us to reassess even further or reassessment that it's already underway, which is whether we should source any of our pharmaceutical products or their vital products and vital industries from China. Whether we should bring that back to the United States or at a minimum, diversify our sourcing to countries that are friendly towards us, not countries that view us as their chief rival.