A group of 18 Republican state attorneys general on Monday called on congressional leaders to hold hearings on China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to the Senate and House leadership, the attorneys general noted the widespread conclusion that China concealed the coronavirus outbreak during its initial stages.
“In what Secretary of State Pompeo has described as a ‘classic communist disinformation effort,‘ the Chinese government, aided by the World Health Organization, appears to have intentionally misled the world over the last 6 months,” the letter states. “During this same period, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our states and the Nation. We must all hold China accountable for the devastation and destruction caused by COVID-19.”
One of the signatories to the letter, Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt, has sued the Chinese government for damages stemming from the pandemic. The letter states that “many” of the signatories “are considering similar legal actions.”
In an interview with National Review in April, Schmitt argued that his suit could “ultimately be successful…to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.” The suit “seeks recovery for the enormous loss of life, human suffering, and economic turmoil experienced by all Missourians” during the pandemic.
Congressional Republicans have already called to investigate aspects of China’s influence over the World Health Organization, as well as Chinese funding and influence at American educational institutions.