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Trump put American lives in China's hands

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks with Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo about his move in bringing 1.2M N95 masks from China to the US using the Patriots plane.

Posted: Apr 3, 2020 9:23 AM
Updated: Apr 4, 2020 5:48 PM


American lives are in China's hands.

China: A country that the White House has called a 'strategic competitor'; a country engaged in active influence operations against us; a country the State Department describes as an authoritarian state that engages in gross human rights abuses; a country that the White House said has 'consistently taken advantage of the US economy'; a country whose leadership Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as a 'substantial threat to our health and way of life'; a country Trump administration officials are blaming for covering up the truth about the coronavirus outbreak.

China: The country the United States is relying on to supply equipment to save American lives.

In a perverse -- and avoidable -- twist of fate, the country that was arguably responsible for the virus' spread because of its attempts to cover up the initial outbreak is now the one best positioned to profit from its fatal impact.

The US intelligence community has warned that China is intent on expanding its global economic reach. Now, as the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted to the United States with more than 300,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of April 4, Trump's lack of preparation has given China an opening to expand that reach quickly.

The Trump administration should have had a strategy in place to adequately stockpile and distribute key supplies before the pandemic hit the homeland. It did not.

To make matters worse, President Donald Trump hesitated for weeks to use the Defense Production Act, which he finally invoked to help direct materials and other resources to domestic manufacturers to produce ventilators and N95 masks. On Friday, he moved to curtail the export of lifesaving personal protective equipment -- after more than 7,000 Americans already died.

Despite Trump's latest moves, the United States is still not producing enough equipment to meet the needs of health care workers and the sick.

The administration's failure to prepare for the pandemic has left people with no other choice than to find supplies where they can. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said Saturday that the Chinese government helped facilitate the donation of 1,000 ventilators to the state, already ordered 17,000 ventilators from China. Meanwhile, private citizens such as Patriots owner Robert Kraft have desperately sourced masks from China.

China's top medical device maker said that the demand for ventilators, for example, is now 10 times higher than what's available at hospitals globally. While data from Chinese sources is far from reliable, a Chinese government official indicated that China has 21 invasive ventilator makers and that Chinese manufacturers have orders for 20,000 ventilators from abroad. At this rate, orders for Chinese products will continue to surge.

China is cashing in on a crisis they played a large part in creating.

This is both a boon to China's economy and a great propaganda point for the Chinese Communist Party. Their disinformation attacks of late have tried to paint the Party as a global leader when it comes to crisis response, despite the fact it is directly responsible for suppressing information about the outbreak, which allowed the coronavirus to spread for weeks.

While the United States is struggling to contain the virus, treat those who have been infected and get enough medical supplies, China, claiming to be 'post-virus,' is manufacturing supplies at a rate we can't. After months of lockdowns, China can start to bounce back by filling the economic void while we scramble just to contain the virus. They have a strategy -- and we don't.

They also have more foreign policy leverage now than any time in recent history.

We've already seen this play out. The war of words between US officials and the Chinese has quieted down in the past few days. Pompeo has rightfully called out the Chinese for their culpability in this crisis. But his -- and the President's -- insistence on referring to the virus as the 'Chinese virus' or 'Wuhan virus' was a misfire on multiple fronts.

Not only because it may have unnecessarily fueled racist attacks against Asian-Americans, it also sent mixed messages to the rest of the world, especially since Trump praised China's efforts to contain the virus back in January. To top it off, US insistence on calling it the 'Wuhan virus' in a G7 statement -- which other members wouldn't agree to -- meant that the G7 put out no statement at all. We fractured the group at a time when unity is sorely needed.

Now, with American lives depending on the Chinese Communist Party agreeing to export medical supplies to the United States, the war of words has cooled. We don't know whether China may have eked out of the Trump administration in return. But what's clear is that China knows the Trump administration has a critical interest in saving American lives -- and that the United States needs to keep the Communist Party happy to fulfill that objective.

Because the CCP has a finger in the Chinese economy, it has the ability to manipulate trade and manufacturing to serve state needs.

We've seen this play out in the past during the trade war when the government engaged in retaliatory measures such as unnecessary government inspections and slower customs clearance against US companies operating in China, for example. The same applies during the pandemic -- China has the ability to cut off or slow the export of supplies from China that American lives depend on. They have us over a barrel.

We are not the only country in this position. China has the upper hand as countries scramble to fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, the CCP is trying to do abroad what it does at home -- sell a false narrative. They're using all the tools at their disposal to spread disinformation about their role in addressing the virus, its origin and more.

The Trump administration and other officials need to do what it takes to save lives right now. But it should be aware that the reliance on China comes at great cost.

The terrible reality is that the administration has put American lives in Chinese hands.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
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