Sen. Lindsey Graham Calls for World to 'Send China a Bill' for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the world should send China a bill for the novel coronavirus pandemic as the number of confirmed cases worldwide topped the 1.3 million mark.

The South Carolina Republican told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Monday night that he would make China "pay big time" for the COVID-19 outbreak, echoing demands from some of his congressional colleagues.

Asked if he agreed with Sen. Marsha Blackburn's (R-TN) suggestion that China should waive U.S. debt over the COVID-19 outbreak, Sen. Graham said: "Makes sense to me. If it were up to me the whole world should send China a bill for the pandemic.

"This is the third pandemic to come from China. They come from these wet markets where they have bats and monkeys with the virus, carrying the virus intermingled with the food supply.

"Yeah, I'd make China pay big time. And here's the question for 2020: Who do you want to take on China? Trump or Joe Biden? I don't think that would be a hard decision for most people."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham talks to reporters at a news conference on November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Graham also hinted that the U.S. needed to cut some of its supply chains with China in the wake of the pandemic.

"We need to look at China from top to bottom, get our medical supply chain back," Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican later added: "If this is about China, how to get China to change, Trump has done more with China in three years than any president in my lifetime."

Graham is not the only Republican lawmaker to have argued that China should pay for the COVID-19 pandemic. In a resolution filed at the end of last month, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called for an international investigation into the Communist Party of China's actions as the disease emerged.

"The cost of Beijing's criminal conduct should be assessed and they should pay damages to USA and the world," the congressman said.

His resolution specifically called for a "mechanism for delivering compensation from the Government of the People's Republic of China" over the damage caused by attempts to "hide the emergence and spread of COVID–19 during the initial weeks of the outbreak."

The proposal was co-signed by three Republican senators and introduced to the House by Rep. Elise Stefanik on March 25.

After it was reported that a U.S. intelligence document detailed that Chinese authorities had underreported the number of people infected or killed by the disease within its borders, President Donald Trump said their numbers appeared "a little bit on the light side."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said it was "immoral and inhumane" to politicize public health issues amid criticism of the country's attempts to suppress news of the initial outbreak, and failure to immediately alert the World Health Organization to the novel coronavirus.

"Slandering, smearing and blaming cannot make up for lost time and more lies will only waste more time and lead to more lives lost," Hua said.

"We advise these politicians that, at this moment, they should put the safety of people's lives and health before politics."