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Democratic senator says Trump, not China, is to blame for the coronavirus crisis


He clarified the dubious claim after being mocked online

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut was hit with a wave of criticism after he said that China was not to blame for the coronavirus crisis in the United States.

Murphy made the comments in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN Wednesday.

He was describing a closed-door meeting at the White House in February about the coronavirus where he claimed the administration was not taking the threat seriously.

"They were just incredibly confident that they had beaten coronavirus, at that time there were only a few cases here, they were reflecting what the president said in those clips because they thought that the travel bans had kept it out of the United States," Murphy said.

"We told them that they needed money, and they needed money fast in order to buy supplies, in order to hire more staff, and they told us that they didn't need any funding, that they had everything that they needed, and I walked out of that closed-door briefing um, just with chills running down my spine, because many of us on both sides of the aisle knew what this virus had done in China," he explained.

"We knew it was a matter of time before it arrived here, and it was just shocking how cavalier the administration was," he claimed.

"This was at a time when the president really, you know, viewed this as a hoax, he said so on TV, and the reason that we're in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, it's not because of anything the WHO did, it's because of what this president, it's because he didn't take this virus seriously," said Murphy.

"We weren't gonna be able to keep every case out of the United States," he concluded, "but we didn't have to have tens of thousands of people dying."

Murphy immediately received criticism on social media, and he offered a clarification on his comments.

"Watch the whole interview. I didn't 'defend China'. I made the accurate point that no matter how badly China screwed up, 100,000 Americans didn't need to die," Murphy tweeted.

"It has been Trump's botched response that has caused our outbreak to be this catastrophic," he added.

Also on Wednesday, a Fox News report documented claims from more sources that China had originated the virus in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Here's the video of his comments:

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