COTTON, BOLDUC BLAST CHINA. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc was joined by a high-profile supporter, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, on a telephone conference call with Bolduc supporters on Tuesday night – and the two took a hard line against China on the coronavirus pandemic.
Bolduc a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and Afghanistan war veteran, also said the U.S. health care system would be less expensive and more responsive if the government had no involvement and it was a totally private system.
Cotton, a retired U.S. Army captain who saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan, praised Bolduc – who served 10 tours of duty in Afghanistan and Africa — as “a great American” with “common sense and clear eyes” to see the threats facing the nation.
Cotton has walked back his earlier support for a theory that theory that China essentially manufactured the coronavirus in a laboratory in Wuhan to infect the U.S. – a theory Bolduc said he agreed with about a month ago.
But both blamed China for not taking precautions, which, they said, led to the worldwide spread of the virus. Both called for repercussions for China after the pandemic subsides.
“I have two eyes to see and two ears to hear and I could tell back in January that the Chinese communist rhetoric of saying that everything is under control … simply did not match their actions,” Cotton told the Bolduc supporters on the conference call.
“Ever since, China has been lying to us and acting in complete disregard for civilized world,” Cotton said.
He said that while public health is important, “We have to begin to balance these public health measures with economic concerns and getting people back to work and back to their normal routines – getting people back on their feet. Because obviously the economic catastrophe that this virus has caused is going to be extremely challenging for our citizens and our families if it continues much longer.”
“With the right steps, techniques and procedures in place, I think we can back to something like normal sooner rather than later without seeing a big surge in the virus spreading.”
Cotton, who in known as one of several “China hawks” in Congress, said that after the nation returns to a semblance of normalcy, “It’s important to recall how we got to this place, because of Chinese treachery.”
He said Chinese government officials were aware of the danger of COVID-19 since December, “and they intentionally lied to the world repeatedly about it and they are still lying to the world today.”
Cotton said China has hoarded personal protective equipment manufactured in other countries “because they knew how serious it was, and they wanted to get the market cornered on that kind of equipment that they are now holding over the United States and other nations.”
“That need to stand up to adversaries like China is one reason I endorsed General Bolduc,” Cotton said.
Bolduc agreed that China is an “existential threat to our country” and is “truly responsible for this COVID virus and they need to be held accountable.”
The general said that, based on his experience dealing with China during his service in Afghanistan and Africa, “They will do anything they possibly can to defeat the United States in every area and become the leading power of the world.
“The Chinese communist party is dangerous. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen their human rights violations. I’ve seen what they do inside countries to undermine U.S. interests.”
Bolduc called for the U.S. to force China to pay for “damages” caused by the virus, adding that the World Health Organization is also responsible “because they are Chinese sympathizers.”
He called for a boycott of Chinese goods and for pressure on “big Pharma, and insist on no Chinese ingredients in our meds.
“We can move our acetaminophen manufacturing – over 80 percent of it is done in China – to India or back home,” Bolduc said.
Bolduc stressed that he is a native of New Hampshire, served in law enforcement and joined military service in the Granite State. But asked specifically by a supporter to comment on Republican primary competitor Bryant “Corky” Messner’s approach of self-funding his campaign, Bolduc did not criticize him, saying, “This is a case for the voters to decide. That’s why we have elections.”
Cotton, meanwhile, said he has introduced legislation to provide incentives to return pharmaceutical manufacturing to the U.S., but also impose a deadline.
“We’d tell anyone who wants to build manufacturing facilities in the United States they can have immediate expensing of it for all their expenses – building the factories, buying the equipment, and so forth. They get to write that off of their taxes immediately.
“And we would guarantee them a marketplace by requiring the federal agencies that buy drugs – Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Defense, the VA – to buy pharmaceuticals that are not sourced out of China.”
“At the deadline, we’d simply say that at a date certain, none of them would be allowed to buy anything from China. And we think the private sector, once they have the domestic supply, would follow suit as well,” Cotton said.
“I think it would be popular and I think it would be a model we could follow in other industries as well, that are vital to our security and prosperity, such as telecommunications.”
Cotton said that if domestic manufacturing is more costly, due to regulations, “I think most Americans are willing to pay a little bit more for critical goods. I don’t think that’s going to be a controversial issue and I think many business executives will recognize it’s in their interests to do so.”
‘Get out of UN’
Bolduc said the United States should pull out of the United Nations, which he called a “completely ineffective organization,” unless it “changes significantly.”
“It is not doing anything anywhere that I have served in the military of any import,” Bolduc said. “It is a highly bureaucratic, ineffective organization that comes with so many caveats that it can’t even do what it says it’s going to do. It is a huge, huge waste of taxpayer dollars to invest in an organization that has an anti-U.S. agenda and does not unite nations.”
In response to a question on health care, Bolduc said the nation needs to move from “disease management to health management.”
He said the closing of rural hospitals and overall health care challenges can be solved by the free market.
“If we do that over time, we’re going to see a much different response and a much more effective response in times of public health crises. The current health system is not focused, doesn’t promote good health, it’s too costly, it’s too complex, it’s too confusing.
“I think that consolidating and taking away from private industry by the government of health care facilities, particularly in a rural state, is the wrong answer.
“These long-standing problems that we have of centralized, top- down management and consolidation is not fair and not right for this state.
“We must get the government out of the health care business and transition it to a total private sector system that will create the necessary competition through a free market system. And then we will not have these problems, and end up with good health, we’ll react to crises better, we’ll have affordable care, people will have confidence in their health care because they’ll actually know the people giving them the health care because they’ll be closer to it.”