GREENVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) – South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wants Congress to consider possible sanctions against China if it’s determined the virus was leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, as many have speculated since the start of the pandemic.
“I will be partnering up with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to introduce sanctions against China,” he said. “If China doesn’t help the international community and cooperate with the international community about where the virus came from, we will sanction them.”
A recent ‘Wall Street Journal’ report based on an analysis of the virus seems to confirm a scenario in which the virus came from a lab and not from nature, Graham said. He said he plans to ask Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease if he agrees with the WSJ report.
“If, in fact, COVID came from the Wuhan lab, where there was mismanagement by the laboratory, that’s a completely different scenario than if it came from bats that infected humans at a wet market,” Graham said.
Graham discussed the origin of the COVID-19 virus after a tour of Premier Medical Laboratory Services in Greenville, S.C., on Monday. He praised the company, which has invested heavily in testing during the pandemic and was the first certified lab in South Carolina outside of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control system.
At one point, officials said the company — one of the largest labs in the U.S. — had the capability of processing 300,000 tests a day. Now, it is also heavily involved in the testing of COVID variants for the entire country, Graham said.
“It’s important to show South Carolina is making an effort to invest in the community,” Graham said, adding that public-sector involvement is needed because the “government footprint and infrastructure are not enough to deal with a pandemic.”
During his visit on Monday, Graham also voiced concerns about possible political motivations and a “Deep State” secret in which initial reports of the virus being leaked from a Chinese laboratory may have been suppressed by State Department and NIH officials in favor of the scenario that it came from bats. He said his goal is to find out who was involved in stopping asking the questions about whether the virus could have come from a lab.
Graham also criticized China for what he called a “dog and pony show” surrounding a recent tour by the World Health Organization.
“WHO was shown what China wanted them to see,” he said, and not allowed to conduct a true investigation, he said. The WHO has not linked the virus to the Wuhan lab.
To date, COVID-19 has killed nearly 600,000 Americans and more than 9,700 residents of South Carolinia.