Murphy says China made 'egregious mistakes' but questions GOP calls for probe into origins of virus

Murphy says Trump's allies are trying to 'create a storyline in which someone else besides the president of the United States was responsible for the crisis'

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Sen. Chris Murphy
Sen. Chris Murphy
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Last Updated:
April 14, 2020 - 6:01pm

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Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy acknowledges that China made “egregious mistakes” in reporting the emergence of the coronavirus but still questions the “motives” of Senate Republicans calling for investigations into the origins of the deadly infection and the Chinese government's early response to the contagion.

"I think it's important for us to understand the origin of the virus. I just wonder about my colleagues' motives," Murphy said Tuesday on a conference call. “China made egregious mistakes, but the mistake that China and the [World Health Organization] made did not mean that it was inevitable that the United States faced tens of thousands of deaths."

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.K. intelligence are now reportedly investigating the claim that COVID-19 originated from a lab accident in Wuhan, China, where the virus reportedly started.  

Murphy, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, said the president and his team made “a horrific series of blunders in January, February and March that has led us to the position that we are today." 

Murphy also said, "Right now, there is a very coordinated effort amongst the White House and their allies to try to find scapegoats for the fatal mistakes they made.”

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The Connecticut Democrat said that he finds it "wildly ironic" that President Trump and his allies are now criticizing China as well as the WHO for "being soft on China," after Trump applauded Chinese President Xi Jiping in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis.

"I think what you're going to see, as Americans get more and more wise to how vulnerable the Trump administration left us, is the president's allies trying to create a storyline in which someone else besides the president of the United States was responsible for the crisis we are in today. There's not going to be a simple answer to this question," Murphy said. "I will support any good faith efforts to try to do good public health research on the origins of this virus as a means to prevent future outbreaks, but I'm not going to support efforts to simply find convenient, political scapegoats for a president that needs to be held accountable."