California congressman: Time to acknowledge US COVID-19 plan was disastrous, learn lessons

"We need to study those reactions, because it's how we react to a challenge like COVID that's going to matter in the future," said Rep. Darrell Issa.

Updated: October 29, 2022 - 11:16pm

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) says America needs to belatedly acknowledge its plan to fight COVID-19 failed and study other countries where mitigation efforts were more successful and less harmful to the economy and student education.

The U.S. reaction to the COVID lockdowns "was awful," Issa said Friday on the the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "We have to keep reminding ourselves that as much of the disease and as many people as it affected, many countries had a worse reaction. But many, many countries had a better reaction."

Issa said the United States should learn the lessons of COVID from other countries. 

"We need to study those reactions, because it's how we react to a challenge like COVID that's going to matter in the future," he explained. "We cannot have our kids thrown out of school, we cannot let lots of people get full pay for not working and then be surprised when it leads to inflation and a reduction in the quality of life for so many people."

One of the many failures, Issa said, was U.S. health officials' long insistence that COVID-19 sprang naturally from animals, when in fact there was strong evidence it came from a research accident at a Chinese lab. A report released last week by Republicans on the Senate health committee concluded the best evidence supported the conclusion that the virus came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.

"It is amazing that it took nearly two years to state what we knew on day one," he said, "and that is that the chances that a bat not indigenous to Wuhan somehow got into a wet market, and it jumped to a human being when there was no history of that happening — it never passed the sniff test.

"I'm an old Sherlock Holmes kind of a person and, you know, if you've got something that is obvious and likely, and then you've got something that's incredibly unlikely — as a matter of fact, just about impossible — which do you choose? And thank goodness the Senate finally stated the obvious, which is this really could only have come from that coincidental regional lab that was experimenting exactly on those bats and exactly on COVID — something that makes it pretty obvious."

Issa said he was deeply troubled that government officials, public health experts and Big Tech tried to aggressively censor those who argued the lab leak was plausible, wasting valuable time to investigate such claims. He predicted Republicans would make the defense of free speech a central issue if they win control of Congress in the midterms.

"More free speech is going to be the Republican mantra come January 3 if we're honored to be [committee] chairmen, and that means we're going to listen to speech we don't like," he said. "We're going to let the Congressional Hispanic Caucus tell us exactly why they want to be considered bipartisan, but they won't let in a Republican.

"We're going to have more free speech, and it's just that way, and, you know, sometimes it means you've got to denounce reprehensible speech. But I'm okay with denouncing something. I'm not okay with censoring it, particularly when there's even the smallest chance they could be right."

Issa urged Republicans to make the economy their main focus in the final days of the midterm election.

"I'm gonna take a hint from Bill Clinton: 'It's the economy stupid,'" Issa said. "Our bad energy policy has created a deficit that we need to work our way out of. Our overspending has created inflation. All of this comes back to the economy. If we straighten out the mistakes we're making, we'll straighten out the economy, because all the private sector needs is sufficient energy, consistent policy, and government out of the way, and they will get it done.

"So that's what we're going to be doing come Jan. 3. Our promise to America is more free speech, more energy, and more opportunity in America for the private sector to make us prosper."