U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is calling on President Donald Trump to create a task force to deal with Chinese propaganda over the coronavirus outbreak.
Rubio joined two other Republicans on the committee—U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah–to write Trump on Monday, urging the president to set up a task force under the umbrella of the National Security Council (NSC). The purpose of the task force would be “to counter propaganda emanating from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) surrounding COVID-19.”
The senators called on Trump to create “an interagency task force” to counter “the sinister propaganda campaign emanating from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” insisting the president could do this under the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act enacted back in 2018.
“In early December 2019, citizens of the city of Wuhan, China began experiencing symptoms of what would become known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This new virus has continuously proved highly infectious and in the four short months since its discovery, it has become a global pandemic and a crisis here at home. Despite early indications that this was a new virus comparable to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from 2002, the CCP made concerted efforts to obfuscate and downplay information that would have been critical for the health of their citizens and later the world,” the senators wrote.
“Now that COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the globe, the CCP and its officials have the audacity to spread disingenuous claims that the United States is responsible for this pandemic. This is not simply dishonest, it is dangerous. This tactic, in addition to being a despicable exploitation of a global emergency, threatens to undermine the worldwide coordination necessary to combat this coronavirus. It is for this reason that we request an interagency task force within the NSC to counter the malicious propaganda coming from CCP apparatchiks,” the senators added.
“This interagency task force should include representatives from the Department of State, the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Treasury, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and from agencies within the Intelligence Community. These representatives should work together to disseminate accurate and appropriate information to U.S. Government (USG) employees and the global public at-large concerning the origins of COVID-19 and efforts at national and international levels to halt its spread.”
The senators insisted the task force should study the origins of coronavirus and efforts from the Chinese regime to downplay it. They also want the task force to offer guidance to U.S. embassy and other federal employees on how to counter the CCP’s narrative on coronavirus and work with congressional committees on the matter.
“The Chinese Communist Party is manipulating facts surrounding a global pandemic that originated due to their own incompetence. While the rest of the world scrambles to clean up the CCP’s mess, they continue to seek geopolitical advantage and undermine the U.S. at every turn. It is critical that our country fight back against this propaganda and an interagency task force under the aegis of the NSC is a distinctive tool to formulate a coordinated, USG-wide response,” the senators wrote in conclusion. “Thank you for your attention to this matter.”
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