Senator Tom Cotton was the first to recognize the coming COVID-19 pandemic. As John McCormack wrote in National Review in an article entitled "The Senator Who Saw the Coronavirus Coming":
Tom Cotton was both the first and the loudest voice in Congress to sound the alarm about the looming pandemic.
While others slept, Tom Cotton was warning anyone who would listen that the coronavirus was coming for America.
On January 22, one day before the Chinese government began a quarantine of Wuhan to contain the spread of the virus, the Arkansas senator sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar encouraging the Trump administration to consider banning travel between China and the United States and warning that the Communist regime could be covering up how dangerous the disease really was. That same day, he amplified his warnings on Twitter and in an appearance on the radio program of Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade. . . .
“Two things struck me about China’s response,” he says. “First their deceit and their dishonesty going back to early December. And second, the extreme draconian measures they had taken. By the third week of January, they had more than 75 million people on lockdown. They were confined to their homes and apartments, otherwise they were arrested. In some cases, the front doors of those buildings were welded shut. All schools had shut down. Hong Kong had banned flights from the mainland. [These are] the kind of extreme, draconian measures that you would only take in a position of power in China if you were greatly worried about the spread of this virus.”
Of course, the media and the left were focused on impeachment instead of dealing with the growing threat from China. Fortunately for the country, Senator Cotton was sounding the alarm. Check out this tweet and video:
INBOX: "From JANUARY"— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) April 3, 2020
Tucker: "Why am I watching impeachment coverage all day?"
Tom Cotton: "I suspect that months from now or perhaps even years from now when people look back at this time, coronavirus will be considered the bigger story than impeachment. I hope that's wrong." pic.twitter.com/HPgsyu6NdN
The left and media attacked him and still do, now distorting his claims. In another National Review article entitled "The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology":
Cotton was one of the first politicians to raise the alarm about the seriousness of COVID-19 and the dishonesty of the Chinese government, as NRO’s John McCormack has pointed out. Cotton emphasized at the time that China was not being transparent about the virus and its origins. Cotton further noted that Wuhan, which was the main location for the first outbreak, had a biosafety Level 4 laboratory that specializes in researching coronaviruses. Cotton specifically said that “we don’t have evidence that the disease originated there, but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says.”
. . .
Media outlets overwhelmingly declared Cotton was spreading dangerous conspiracy theories. The Washington Post insisted, “Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked.” The New York Times, the Daily Beast, and other outlets repeated the same framing. Countless other members of the media and prominent commentators accused Cotton of being irresponsible and spreading dangerous claims. In perhaps the most embarrassing display, CBS’s Face the Nation had the Chinese ambassador on and set him up to label Cotton’s suggestion “absolutely crazy”.
How did the media end up declaring that Cotton was spreading a debunked conspiracy theory? By completely distorting what he said.
All those media outlets cited experts to declare that there was no evidence the virus was man-made or a bioweapon, which is a claim that Cotton never actually made. In almost every article, they cite Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers and one of the leading biosecurity experts in the world, to dismiss the possibility that the virus was a bioweapon. They do not address Cotton’s actual claim. That’s because Enright has repeatedly acknowledged, and recently reconfirmed, that it is a very real possibility that the COVID-19 spread began at the Wuhan lab. The very same expert they were using to “debunk” Cotton’s question and smear him as a conspiracy theorist actually agreed that it was legitimate. There are plenty of reasons to ask the question and demand transparency from China’s government given its dishonesty, the history of similar viruses escaping from Chinese labs, and the specific research focus of that particular lab.
Senator Cotton is not resting on his laurels. He calls COVID-19 the "China Virus." The latter is important because Senator Cotton is correctly calling attention to the fact that China made it worse and is proposing efforts to hold China accountable with the Li Wenliang Global Public Health Accountability Act:
“Dr. Li tried to warn his country and the world about the Wuhan coronavirus, but he was silenced by the Chinese Communist Party. By hiding the truth about the virus, the CCP turned a regional health problem into a global catastrophe. In honor of Dr. Li, our bill seeks to punish foreign officials responsible for suppressing information about international health crises, including the Wuhan virus,” said Cotton. . . .
Earlier this year, Senator Cotton introduced a resolution honoring Dr. Li’s bravery and sacrifice. The resolution passed on March 3.
Senator Cotton is addressing the RNLA tomorrow in a members-only conference call. Thank you, Senator Cotton for your leadership.