Democratic US Rep Jamie Raskin hit back at Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert with quotes from former President Donald Trump when she tried to change the record on the former president’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You’re right. President Trump was in office when the Covid virus was released from a lab in China,” Ms Boebert said on Tuesday during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee as she blasted mask and vaccine mandates.
“And he tried to make that very clear that this came from China, and reporters regularly dismissed that,” she said, as HuffPost reported.
Mr Raskin went on to say that Ms Boebert had missed that Mr Trump had often heaped praise on China’s President Xi Jinping and his administration’s control of the situation during the initial stages of the outbreak in late 2019 and early 2020.
“I appreciate the gentlelady’s passion. There’s two facts that she should perhaps be alerted to,” he said.
“One is that Donald Trump, on more than 20 different occasions, defended the performance of the Chinese government and specifically President Xi in terms of his treatment of Covid-19 and said he was doing a ‘wonderful job’ and a ‘great job’ and they were working closely and they were constantly in touch,” he added.
“So, if there’s a problem with the Chinese government unleashing a virus â which has not been proven anywhere, but it certainly could be true â you would have to pin that on your favourite president, Donald Trump, not on Joe Biden,” Mr Raskin added.
Raskin: Trump on more than 20 different occasions defended the performance of the Chinese government in terms of COVID.. so if there is a problem with the Chinese government unleashing the virus.. you would have to pin that on your favorite President Donald Trump not Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/S2d0jflOeq
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 28, 2023
Mr Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, added that Mr Trump’s Covid-19 adviser, Deborah Birx, wrote in her book that Mr Trump’s policies during the pandemic led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in the US.
“So you don’t have to believe anybody on the Democratic side of the aisle. That’s Donald Trump’s own special adviser on Covid-19,” he told Ms Boebert.
More than 1.1 million Americans have died because of Covid-19, according to the CDC.
Several experts said in an opinion piece for the Scientific American that 450,000 Americans died of Covid-19 during Mr Trump’s last year in office. “Many of the deaths were avoidable; Covid-19 mortality in the U.S. was 40 percent higher than the average of the other wealthy nations in the Group of Seven,” they said.
A report in The Lancet on Public policy and health in the Trump era states that “Trump exploited low and middle-income white people’s anger over their deteriorating life prospects to mobilise racial animus and xenophobia and enlist their support for policies that benefit high-income people and corporations and threaten health”.
Dr Birx said in a House hearing in October 2021 that she thought the Trump administration had missed an opportunity to avoid as much as 40 per cent of the deaths caused by Covid-19 in the US, according to HuffPost.