“You’re right. President Trump was in office when the COVID virus was released from a lab in China,” Boebert said in a spiel criticizing pandemic-era mask and vaccine mandates during a House Oversight Committee hearing Tuesday. “And he tried to make that very clear that this came from China, and reporters regularly dismissed that.”
In his rebuttal, Raskin noted that Boebert had left out some key information ― including the fact that Trump repeatedly praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and China’s grasp over the situation as the virus was first spreading across the country and the world.
“I appreciate the gentlelady’s passion. There’s two facts that she should perhaps be alerted to,” he began. “One is that Donald Trump, on more than 20 different occasions, defended the performance of the Chinese government and specifically President Xi in terms of his treatment of COVID-19 and said he was doing a ‘wonderful job’ and a ‘great job’ and they were working closely and they were constantly in touch.
“So, if there’s a problem with the Chinese government unleashing a virus ― which has not been proven anywhere, but it certainly could be true ― you would have to pin that on your favorite president, Donald Trump, not on Joe Biden.”
Secondly, Raskin noted that Trump’s White House adviser on COVID-19, Deborah Birx, wrote in her book that Trump’s pandemic policies cost Americans hundreds of thousands of lives.
“So you don’t have to believe anybody on the Democratic side of the aisle. That’s Donald Trump’s own special adviser on COVID-19,” Raskin said.
More than 1 million people in the U.S. died of COVID-19. Experts have suggested that a large chunk of those deaths could have been prevented had the Trump administration acted sooner and more appropriately to curb the spread.
In an October 2021 House hearing, Birx said she believed the Trump White House bungled a chance to prevent up to 40% of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.