The One U.S. Senator who Saw the Virus Coming and Tried to Warn Everyone he Could
From The National Review:
While others slept, Tom Cotton was warning anyone who would listen that the coronavirus was coming for America.
On January 22, one day before the Chinese government began a quarantine of Wuhan to contain the spread of the virus, the Arkansas senator sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar encouraging the Trump administration to consider banning travel between China and the United States and warning that the Communist regime could be covering up how dangerous the disease really was. That same day, he amplified his warnings on Twitter and in an appearance on the radio program of Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade.
At the time, the Senate impeachment trial was dominating the news cycle. The trial, which lasted from January 16 to February 5, had even blotted out coverage of the Democratic presidential primary in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. When the first classified briefing on the virus was held in the Senate on January 24, only 14 senators reportedly showed up.
Cotton’s public and private warnings became more urgent that last week of January. In a January 28 letter to the secretaries of state, health and human services, and homeland security, he noted that “no amount of screening [at airports] will identify a contagious-but-asymptomatic person afflicted with the coronavirus” and called for an immediate evacuation of Americans in China and a ban on all commercial flights between China and the United States.
Cotton first spoke to President Trump about the virus the next day. The Arkansas Gazette reported that he missed nearly three hours of the impeachment trial while he was discussing the matter with Trump-administration officials. The outbreak was “the biggest and the most important story in the world,” he said in a Senate hearing that week.