Matt Gaetz wants to seize the assets of Chinese companies in the U.S. as recompense for Coronavirus. The Republican congressman said China must suffer consequences for the pandemic.
“Instead of bailing out Chinese businesses in the United States, we should seize their assets and put them in receivership to pay damages to Americans who have suffered as a consequence of the Wuhan virus,” Gaetz said.
“Wuhan virus” is a term the World Health Organization has advised against.
“Here’s how we do it. First, we pass the Dan Crenshaw, Tom Cotton legislation to make China financially responsible for the damages they’ve caused,” Gaetz said.
“And then, when the lawsuits are ultimately filed to hold China accountable, you don’t just let them continue to operate their assets and their businesses in the United States.”
“You use the judicial process to put all of that in receivership,” he said.
“That’ll get China’s attention. That’ll hold them accountable. That will make the American people whole.”
Gaetz is just the latest Republican to support punishing China for Coronavirus. Such a move would likely have damaging economic effects, but his GOP colleagues are bringing forward a bill.
The proposed legislation is unlikely to pass the House, where Democrats have a majority. Many see the measure as posturing from conservative China hawks, while Gaetz’ idea could be legally unworkable.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media