The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) should be held accountable for its coverup and misfeasance which exacerbated the CCP virus pandemic, according to Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“At a minimum, I believe this is something that likely escaped from that lab. They knew. They covered it up. They didn’t say anything for a long time. They didn’t provide access,” DeSantis told The Epoch Times on April 1.
“They knowingly made that decision, and I think probably cost a lot of lives in the process. So they absolutely should be held accountable.”
CCP officials were aware of a viral outbreak in Wuhan for at least six weeks before warning the world about the contagion. In the meantime, the regime arrested whistleblowers and censored online discussions about the outbreak. The CCP sealed off Wuhan from the rest of China while continuing to allow international flights in and out of the megacity.
During an interview with The Epoch Times on April 1, DeSantis accused the CCP of promoting its draconian lockdowns to other nations as an essential mitigation measure, leading nations like Italy to destroy their economies. DeSantis also faulted some of the top health officials in the United States, including Anthony Fauci, for blindly adopting the communist regime’s lockdown model.
“I think the people like Fauci were relying on the Communist Party of China for some of this stuff. You can’t trust what comes out of the Communist Party of China,” DeSantis said. “I think it was a huge mistake to give them any validity in terms of what they were doing.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has been a stalwart proponent of mass lockdowns, masking, and social distancing measures as a way to stem the pandemic. He has largely ignored the thousands of medical and public health scientists who have assessed the available data and concluded that lockdowns and other blanket restrictions and mandates are futile.
Under Fauci’s leadership, NIAID spent U.S. taxpayer dollars on researching bat coronaviruses in China, including controversial gain-of-function research looking into how coronaviruses evolve the ability to jump from animals to humans. The Trump administration cut funding to the projects after news reports showed that some of the researchers involved were linked to the Wuhan virology lab located close to where the first cases of CCP virus were reported.
NIAID did not respond to a request for comment.
“It’d be interesting to see with people like Fauci and their relationship with the CCP because … in those early days they were not of a mind to hold China accountable at all,” DeSantis said. “They were buying the propaganda that was coming out there. And that’s had obviously negative consequences because I think it helped lead them to embrace lockdowns.”
Nearly 14,000 medical and public health scientists opposing the lockdowns have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, which calls on elected leaders to focus mitigation measures on the vulnerable population while letting the rest of society go on with life as normal. DeSantis has adopted that approach and the virus metrics in his state have vindicated his decision.
The governor, who describes himself as a “knee-jerk anti-communist,” believes the CCP’s promotion of lockdowns was rooted in the communist regime’s scheme to get other countries to damage their economies with ill-advised restrictions. He specifically pointed to the government of Italy, which shut the country down in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.
“The West did a lot of damage to itself by adopting some of these policies, which have proven to not work to stop the spread, but to be very economically destructive,” DeSantis said.
“I do think there was an information operation angle to this, where they really believed that if they could get these other countries to lock down, and they were willing to do some propaganda along the way, particularly in Europe, that ultimately would help China. And I think it has helped China.”
In September last year, President Donald Trump called on the United Nations to hold China accountable for its actions. Neither Trump nor the UN took any overt steps to punish the regime.
“The Chinese government, and the World Health Organization—which is virtually controlled by China—falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission,” Trump said in an address on Sept. 22, 2020. “Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease.”
This is not the first time DeSantis has called out the communist regime. In May last year, he called on the CCP to stop hoarding personal protective equipment in an attempt to “screw over the rest of the world.”
On March 1 this year, flanked by Republican state legislators, he proposed a law that would penalize Florida universities who fail to report donations from foreign sources, specifically China. The purpose of the measure was to make it more difficult for Chinese agents to infiltrate universities and steal trade secrets and intellectual property.
American universities accepted $1.5 billion in gifts and contracts from China, according to the Department of Education. A significant portion of the money went unreported until the department opened an investigation into the matter during the Trump administration.
“China has made it a mission to steal intellectual property from our businesses, our government, and our academic institutions—all to further fuel their global objectives,” DeSantis said at the time.
“The growing presence of the Chinese Communist Party influence in domestic and international affairs is one of the most pervasive threats to American security and prosperity.”
This article is the second in a series based on interviews conducted with Gov. Ron DeSantis and senior members of his cabinet in early April 2021.