Evangelical supporters of President Donald Trump say that he should find a way to punish China, which they blame for the spread of the novel coronavirus. In interviews with Politico, several of these supporters said that Trump should, in addition to containing the virus within the United States, should force China “to take responsibility for the global pandemic.”
Ralph Reed, the co-founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, said, “From the time he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower, President Trump made clear there would be a new sheriff in town when it comes to dealing with China. China lied about the genesis of the virus and under-reported their own cases. These are actions that cannot be ignored and for which China must be held responsible, and I think taking action to do that only serves to deepen the president’s commitment.”
Christian activist Gary Bauer, who was appointed by Trump to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said, “The ironic and disgusting thing about China is they get to both create demand and then fulfill demand.”
“I think there’s a growing acknowledgment in the U.S. and around the world that China’s communist rulers are bad actors and, in some way, there has to be some sort of reckoning for all of this,” he added.
Mark Burns, a South Carolina pastor who is a Trump surrogate, says he agrees with his state’s senator, Republican Lindsey Graham that China is to blame for the pandemic. Graham has called for defunding the World Health Organization (WHO), calling them “Chinese apologists.”
“It’s similar to when our founders began drafting the Declaration of Independence and they felt that Thomas Jefferson should write most of it because he was from Virginia, which at the time was the strongest and most powerful colony. President Trump should lead this response and rally other nations who have been greatly affected by the virus to challenge China on a major scale,” he said.
Politico’s story comes just a day after the president falsely claimed WHO is “China centric,” a reference to a statement WHO issued on February 3 saying there was no need for widespread travel restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China.
The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
The president has often come under fire for referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” a term many have derided as racist.