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Sen. Tom Cotton said on Thursday that he objects to Sen. Kamala Harris’ newly introduced resolution to deem the phrase “Wuhan Virus” xenophobic, arguing it shows the Democrats' overall lack of a strategy to deal with China as a threat to the United States.
“Wuhan is just a city, it’s not even a people,” Cotton, R-Ark., told “Fox & Friends.”
“I guess she’s going to have to call out Lyme disease for being anti-Connecticut or even maybe Legionnaires' disease for being anti-veteran or Zika since Zika is a forest in Africa," Cotton said.
Cotton's comments came after Sen. Harris, D-Calif., introduced a resolution condemning “anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19,” including use of the phrase “Wuhan Virus.”
The former presidential candidate introduced the bill on behalf of a number of Democrats to condemn “all manifestations or expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance” and “to expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes, incidents, and threats against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the United States.”
The resolution claims a study found over 400 cases of anti-Asian discrimination related to COVID-19 between Feb. 7 and March 9. The resolution takes particular aim at phrases such as “Wuhan virus,” “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” for perpetrating “anti-Asian stigma.”
It calls on the U.S. to “recommit” to building an inclusive society by “prioritizing language access and inclusivity in communication practices.”
President Trump began calling COVID-19 “Chinese Virus” soon after rumors began circulating among Chinese officials that coronavirus found its origin in the U.S. Army, and he rejected objections from the media that the term might be “racist.” However, he said in late March that if China continued to protest the name, he’d stop using it.
Cotton said that aside from the "political correctness run amok," there is a "more serious point" that the Democrats do not know how to deal with China as a threat against the U.S.
“The Democrats want to wave their arms and say that this is racist or xenophobic and that’s because they don’t have an answer for China’s rise and the threat that China poses to us. Joe Biden, as we said, has been weak on China for 30 years. So they want to have politically correct distractions to distract people from his terrible record on China,” Cotton said.
Meanwhile, Republicans have sought to hold China accountable for withholding information in the early days of coronavirus. On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Chinese government over its coronavirus handling.
"They suppressed the evidence. They suppressed the doctors. They jailed the doctors even. And now we're dealing with this terrible disease," the senator said. "So the victims of this disease in our country ought to be able to go to our courts and sue the Chinese government to hold them accountable and to get damages for it."
Fox News' Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.