GOP senator vows retaliation against China for 'giving this virus to' Trump

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Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) has repeatedly blamed China for the spread of the coronavirus in the United States while downplaying its health risks.

At 12:54 a.m. ET on Friday morning, Donald Trump announced, via Twitter, that he and Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

The president has mild, cold-like symptoms, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

News of the Trumps' positive test results followed the revelation Thursday that White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive after traveling with Trump several times in the past week.

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But on Friday, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) blamed China for Trump contracting the virus — and vowed retaliation.

"Remember: China gave this virus to our President @realDonaldTrump and First Lady @FLOTUS" Loeffler tweeted on Friday morning. "WE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE."

This line of thinking goes along with Trump's, who has consistently downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic while blaming China for the spread of the virus throughout the United States. Loeffler has repeatedly downplayed the risks posed by the virus, going as far as accusing Democrats of exaggerating the virus' impact for political gain.

"Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness," Loeffler tweeted in February. "Here's the truth: @realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe."

In May, during a hearing with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Loeffler accused the Chinese government of orchestrating a "cover-up."

"I'm incredibly concerned about the cover-up and the misinformation coming from China and their efforts to suppress life-saving information at the outset of this outbreak," she said during a hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

At the same hearing, Loeffler accused Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a prominent member of the government's coronavirus response team, of having a "confrontational" relationship with the president.

"There is certainly not a confrontational relationship between me and the president," Fauci replied. "As I've mentioned many times, I give advice and opinion based on evidence-based, scientific information."

Loeffler is hardly the only member of her party who, when faced with U.S. elected officials' mishandling of the virus response, has pointed fingers at China. Trump has repeatedly blamed China and has referred to the virus with the racist terminology "Kung Flu" at campaign events. Trump's rhetoric has coincided with an uptick in violence against Asian-Americans.

Republicans' argument that China deserves 100% of the blame for the global spread of the virus doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Medical experts have found that multiple strains of virus came to the United States from Europe, not Asia.

Despite her public skepticism about the virus's health risks, Loeffler hasn't taken any chances with her personal finances. After attending a private Senate briefing on the virus in January, Loeffler dumped $20 million in stock and invested in stocks that were likely to be profitable due to the pandemic.

The numbers for the United States remain stark. Since the start of the pandemic, 4,739 people in China have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In Georgia, Loeffler's home state, 7,063 people have died from the virus.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.