by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona released a campaign ad earlier this year with a distinct message to voters: Never trust a communist.
On the campaign website of North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, voters can find an 18-point plan of action to “hold China accountable” for the coronavirus pandemic that’s led to the deaths of more than 160,000 people in the United States.
Sen. Steve Daines of Montana is inviting people to sign a petition supporting an investigation into the Chinese Communist Party for allegedly covering up its role in the pandemic.
Since the pandemic began, leading to lockdowns and social distancing measures, Republican lawmakers, conservative pundits, and President Trump have made it a point to tie the coronavirus outbreak to where it originated: China. A handful of Republican senators introduced a bill last month to allow U.S. citizens to sue China in federal court for damages over its handling of the pandemic.
“Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm,” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement. “It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused.”
Republicans are at risk of losing their Senate majority in the chamber as well as the White House at a time of a health crisis mixed with a wave of social unrest with less than 100 days until Election Day. They appear to be rallying around the strategy of painting China as a nefarious adversary responsible for all the misery and hardship going around.
A leaked 57-page memo, drafted by O’Donnell & Associates and shared with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, encouraged GOP candidates to focus on vilifying China and blaming the Chinese Communist Party for the outbreak.