China calls for cooperation rather than blame on COVID-19
GOP Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is advising his Republican senators who are up for reelection to avoid getting trapped into trying to defend Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic. His and his party's advice to them is to instead attack China and blame it for the crisis. Patrick Semansky | AP

A leaked secret GOP memo to its 2020 Senatorial candidates exposes Donald Trump’s “blame China for the virus” strategy as the core of the party’s re-election campaign for November.

The memo was leaked this week just after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made two false accusations against China, one that the Chinese were guilty of a “lack of transparency” regarding the virus and another that China had refused entry into its country to inspectors from the U.S.

The record shows that China had informed both the World Health Organization and the United States on Jan. 2 about the disease and that during the month of January the U.S. had two top-level inspectors in China as part of the WHO inspection team.

The real question was what the Trump administration was doing in terms of transparency during the 50 days after that, a time during which it made no explanations about a virus that was clearly by then spreading throughout the U.S.

The 57-page GOP campaign memo tells GOP candidates not to try to defend Trump’s handling of the pandemic except, if forced, to mention only that he had immediately closed the border to entrants from China (which was also not true). Instead of defending Trump on the pandemic, the memo says, “attack China.”

The talking points in their memo include but are not limited to:

  • “This virus is China’s fault, it came out of China and they covered it up…
  • “Because China lied, we couldn’t get started fighting the virus until it was late…
  • “China lied by saying it could not be transmitted…
  • “China bought up the world’s supply of face masks and medical supplies which is why we could not get enough for our health care workers…
  • “The Communist Party of China is our enemy. For decades they have stolen millions of jobs from America, they have hacked into our computer networks, and they have exported plagues and fentanyl to the U.S.
  • “At home, they force women to have abortions and they send religious people to concentration camps and they arrest Christians.”

“The world should aim for cooperation to defeat the coronavirus rather than slip into a blame game,” Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said yesterday. “Fighting COVID-19 is like fighting a fire,” Shuang said. “Every minute counts when life is at stake.”

China is continuing, as part of the WHO, to work with the international community on finding a vaccine for the virus. The U.S. is not part of that international effort, with Trump ordering a halt to U.S. funding for WHO and claiming the organization is “covering up for China.” His move has been universally condemned by medical experts and authorities the world over, including those in the U.S.

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CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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