Cobb critical of China, U.S. handling of coronavirus

Democratic congressional candidate Tedra Cobb has over $2 million in the bank for her campaign, but she’s not spent much of it yet. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Tedra Cobb, the Democratic candidate for New York’s 21st Congressional District, has released a statement regarding incumbent U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s letter asking the U.S. to bring China to the International Court of Justice to answer for its handling of the coronavirus.

Cobb says she agrees that China should be held accountable, and criticized U.S. officials’ handling of the pandemic, too. Stefanik has said that comparing how China and America have handled the virus which has caused thousands of deaths in each country is “irresponsible.”

“I agree that we should investigate any misinformation or withholding of information from China,” Cobb, of Canton, wrote in an email. “That said, there were ample, ample signs that this needed to be taken more seriously stretching back many months — signs that were ignored and misinformation that was spread from leaders in Washington, too.

“So, we can all agree that China needs to be held accountable, but we deserve better from our own elected officials who are only looking to blame others instead of taking responsibility for themselves.”

Asked for comment on Thursday, Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said Cobb was not clear about what she means by holding China accountable.

“I tend not to follow her commentary,” Stefanik said. “I would ask her what she means by holding China accountable. I’m on numerous bills to hold China accountable.”

Stefanik and her campaign staff have framed Cobb as supporting China over the U.S., and Stefanik said Cobb’s statement “doesn’t square with the attacks that she’s been spewing on her email campaigns against me,” Stefanik said. “I’m not going to engage in my opponent’s political attacks.”

Stefanik along with 22 other Republican members of Congress last week asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to bring a case against China for lying to the World Health Organization.

Asked last week about what makes China’s actions worse or more illegal than what many in the U.S. government have done to lie, misrepresent or downplay the severity of the coronavirus, Stefanik said the question was “irresponsible.”

On Friday Stefanik agreed that U.S. politicians also downplayed the virus, but only talked about Democratic figures.

“Leaders of the Democratic Party downplayed this, including (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi … and (New York City) Mayor (Bill) de Blasio, who encouraged people to pursue public events when there was a huge, huge threat,” Stefanik said.

Several Republican politicians, including Republican President Donald Trump spent the early weeks of this virus telling Americans it was “under control,” saying the virus was going to “miraculously (go) away” and praising China for its “transparency.”


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