Home>Congress>Investigation into China’s handling of COVID-19 crisis not an immediate priority, Menendez says

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Investigation into China’s handling of COVID-19 crisis not an immediate priority, Menendez says

Senator criticizes nation’s lack of transparency, urges focus on U.S. recovery

By Nikita Biryukov, May 11 2020 4:07 pm

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez declined to clearly say whether he opposed calls for a congressional investigation into whether China knowingly concealed information about COVID-19 made by 18 Republican state attorneys general.

“For me, the problem with China is they were not forthcoming at the very beginning, and in the potential of a pandemic, you need whatever country is facing that reality to quickly sound the alarms and to fully and openly transparently give all the information that exists so people can prepare, governments can prepare,” Menendez said. “I think China failed miserably in that regard.”

Despite his misgivings about China’s transparency, Menendez, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said an investigation into the country’s handling of the virus’s initial outbreak should not be the United States’ foremost concern.

“I’m not sure that that is as important as dealing with what we’re talking about here,” Menendez said during Gov. Phil Murphy’s daily COVID-19 briefing, where the senator spoke about a bill that would provide $500 billion in aid to state and local governments whose budgets have been battered by lockdowns that have been in effect for close to two months.

“How do we deal with this challenge now? How do we get almost universal testing?” Menendez said. “I haven’t been tested. I’m asymptomatic. At some point, I’d like to get tested because I’d like to go hug my grandchildren, including the new one that was just born that I haven’t even met except through pictures, and I think that’s true for a lot of people”

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