Ben Sasse on China's role in coronavirus outbreak: 'Lying is a feature' of their Communist system

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has spread as far and as fast as it has because "lying is a feature of the Chinese system," Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said Tuesday.

In an interview on "Fox News @ Night," host Shannon Bream asked Sasse whether the United States is "getting the full picture out of China."

"Heck no," Sasse quickly replied.

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According to The Associated Press, China on Tuesday reported 508 new cases and another 71 deaths, 68 of them in the central city of Wuhan, where the epidemic was first detected in December. The updates bring mainland China's totals to 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths.

To date, the pandemic has killed over 2,700 and more than 80,000 are sickened worldwide. South Korea now has the second-most cases in the world with 977, including 10 deaths.

Clusters of the illness are now appearing in the Middle East and Europe. This could potentially signal a new stage in the spread of the virus, with four deaths reported in Japan. There are now 35 cases reported in the United States.

"Lying is not a bug in the Chinese system, it's a feature of the Chinese system. Surveillance of their people is not a bug, it's a feature of their system. Xi [Jinping], you can't believe what he says because his interests are in the Communist Party, not in the good of his own people or the people around the world," Sasse explained.

Sasse said Xi likely hid the spread of the virus on purpose because there's "an adage now in China where everybody supplicates and bows before Chairman Xi."

"And, Xi wants to pretend that he can control everything. He couldn't control this so he hid it for over a month and now people all over the world are dying because of how fast it spread," he told Bream.

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Lastly, Sasse said that although Congress should definitely want to scrutinize the administration's funding requests, President Trump is "certainly right to be seeking emergency funding right now."

"We have an emergency," he urged.

Sasse added that he believes Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's criticism that the administration was "too little, too late" on its funding request is politically charged.

"What is his alternative? What's his constructive plan?" Sasse questioned further.

On Tuesday morning the president responded to the Democratic leader via Twitter.

"Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings," he wrote

"I was right. He is incompetent!" the president exclaimed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.