Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) told CNN on Monday that holding the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in China was “in some ways worse than” holding the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.
“Look, I just don’t think it’s appropriate to hold the Olympics in a country that’s committing a genocide,” Malinowski said. “That’s, you know, this is in some ways worse than 1936. In that respect, and what our bill does, it doesn’t force the athletes to boycott. I don’t want them to lose this experience.”
He added, “But it would put pressure on the U.S. corporate sponsors of the game by saying that they can’t contract with the U.S. government if they sponsor these games.”
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Almost 600,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and lawmakers want answers about the origins of this pandemic. And joining me now to talk about this is Democratic Representative Tom Malinowski of New Jersey. He’s on the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees. Congressman, thanks so much for joining me. Your colleague and the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Mike McCaul, told my colleague, Jake Tapper, this weekend, this, let’s listen.
REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R-TX): I do think it’s more likely than not, it emerged out of the lab, most likely accidentally, for several reasons. This is the worst cover up in human history that we see resulting in 3.5 million deaths, creating economic devastation around the globe.
ACOSTA: What do you think, Congressman, do you agree with that? And is the Biden administration taking this seriously enough, do you think?
REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ): I think they are and look, we’ve been briefed by the Intelligence Community and right now, to be honest, there are two highly plausible explanations, either it was transferred from animals in a market or there was an accidental lab leak, our intelligence community doesn’t have a conclusion. They don’t know for sure. And we may never know. But whether it was a lab leak or not, we do know that the Chinese government was covering this up because they have blocked the World Health Organization and every other independent body from going in and investigating this. I think that the Biden administration is doing the right thing by expediting a review of the intelligence because we do have to try our best to figure this out if we’re going to prevent future pandemics.
ACOSTA: And you want to put some pressure on China, you recently co sponsored a bill that would ban the federal government contracting with businesses sponsoring the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Your co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), Congressman Mike Waltz, cites the quote, ‘cover up of the COVID-19 pandemic’ as one reason for the ban. How does this bill go beyond the work of the intelligence community in trying to uncover what happened?
MALINOWKSI: Well, I think these are, these are two separate things. And just another word on the COVID issue, I want to hold China accountable because there’s no question whatever the origins there, there was a cover up. But what China is hiding, again, are the origins of COVID, not the fact of COVID, which was known to us from a very, very early point last year. I mean, it wasn’t China after all that called this a hoax, or that said that, you know, we should take hydroxychloroquine or that it would go away by the summer. So we need to know the facts to prevent future pandemics, but we shouldn’t use this investigation as a way of absolving ourselves of responsibility for what happened in our country. And on the Olympics. Look, I just don’t think it’s appropriate to hold the Olympics in a country that’s committing a genocide. That’s, you know, this is in some ways worse than 1936. In that respect, and what our bill does, it doesn’t force the athletes to boycott. I don’t want them to lose this experience. But it would put pressure on the U.S. corporate sponsors of the game by saying that they can’t contract with the U.S. government if they sponsor these games.
ACOSTA: And former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS on Sunday, quote, ‘leaks, lab leaks happen all the time. And often the Chinese government is so opaque, it is up to journalists to find out the truth.’ What mechanisms should the international community put in place so we don’t see another pandemic on this scale?
MALINOWKSI: Well this is why we need to have the answers as best we can as to how this happened in the first place. If it was animal to human transmission, that suggests a certain strategy going forward to prevent the next one. If it was a lab leak it suggests a different strategy. So, you know, I do think we have to put as much pressure as possible on China to cooperate with an international investigation. I think there should be consequences if they don’t. Regardless, we need to do more to ensure that the critical supply chains for dealing with infectious disease pandemics are within the United States, that we’re not dependent on China or any other country. That in and of itself, would be punitive.
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