Sen. Graham’s message to Dems: ‘China is the problem, not Trump’

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had a message for Democrats on Sunday saying, “China is the problem, not Trump.”

Graham made the comment during an exclusive interview on “Sunday Morning Futures” three days after President Trump said he has seen evidence suggesting that the coronavirus originated from a laboratory in China.

“The Democrats have empaneled a group to look at Trump, not China,” Graham said.

“President Trump made very good decisions, very hard calls consistently," he continued. "Not one Democrat has come forward with any idea to hold China accountable for killing over 60,000 Americans by withholding information about the virus and putting 30 million Americans out of work because that’s what we had to do to save probably 1 million lives.”

He then urged Democrats to “step up.”

Trump was speaking to reporters on Thursday about protecting America's senior citizens when Fox News and others asked if he knew of anything that gave him confidence that the outbreak originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

"Yes, I have," he said, without further explanation. "And, I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China."

The president announced last month that the United States would immediately halt funding for the health organization, saying it had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures,” noting that the U.S. would undertake a 60- to 90-day investigation into why the “China-centric” WHO had caused “so much death” by “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus spread.

Trump had also speculated about whether China knew about the virus sooner than it has led on and withheld information about the outbreak.

"It's a terrible thing that happened. Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one or did somebody do something on purpose,” Trump said on Thursday.

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Intelligence officials confirmed Thursday that an investigation has been ongoing into whether the pandemic was the result of an accident at the Wuhan lab, a contradiction from the broad consensus that it originated at a wet market in the city.

On Sunday Graham said, “I’ve got a bill that says we’re going to put sanctions on China’s economy until they cooperate with the investigation about how the virus came out of the lab, if it came out of the lab at all, closing the wet markets that create these pandemics, and dealing with the abuse against the Hong Kong democracy advocates.”

He went on to say that it doesn’t matter what he and other Republicans do unless Democrats join their efforts.

“It doesn’t matter what I do or what [Texas Republican Sen.] Ted Cruz does or [Arkansas Republican Sen.] Tom Cotton or [Tennessee Republican Sen.] Marsha Blackburn or [Arizona Republican Sen.] Martha McSally. Where is [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [New York Democratic Sen. Chuck] Schumer?” Graham asked.

“We’ve all got good ideas on the Republican side. The president wants to be tough. Where is the Democratic Party?” he continued.

He urged Democrats not to “give China a pass.”

Graham then had a direct message for Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer.

He asked,“Why don’t you work with me and others to hold China accountable for killing over 60,000 Americans, and having 30 million people lose their jobs?”

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“They’re absolutely AWOL [Absent Without Leave] when it comes to China accountability,” he continued. “So none of this matters unless you can get Democrats involved.”

Fox News Louis Casiano and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.