Public health experts and elected officials have encouraged Americans to think about what our world will look like after the coronavirus crisis subsides. 

Masks may be worn in public for a long time after. We could even see the end of the handshake.

For House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, that post-pandemic world would also see the end of China taking part in global supply chains.

In an interview with Cheddar, the California Republican pointed to China as a major contributor to the woes the world has experienced during the outbreak. 

“America and the rest of the world needs to wake up,” he said. “No longer should China be able to control a supply chain. To our medicine, to our PPE, to our critical minerals or otherwise. This is a place that we have to change the course of history.”

The United States does depend on China’s manufacturing might for a wide variety of consumer goods. Most relevant for the current state of the virus, the U.S. and other countries look to China for the personal protective equipment medical professionals, and now many average citizens, need to help prevent more infections.

President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have recently expressed skepticism about China's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and its role in the global virus response, mostly brought on by a U.S. intelligence finding that the country underreported the number of cases and deaths within its borders, as reported by Bloomberg.

This is the same skepticism that led the president to declare earlier this week that the U.S. would pull its funding from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). 

Some Republicans called for such a measure because they saw the W.H.O. as too deferential to China in the early stages of the outbreak. Critics seized on a January tweet from the organization which said that researchers there had not found evidence of human-to-human transmission, a contention now known to be untrue.

“China owes the entire world an apology,” McCarthy said. “They owe all the families who lost a grandmother or a grandfather, mother or father, brother or sister or a child, because they lied to the rest of the world.”

The minority leader has brought forward his position on reshuffling global supply chains away from China several times on Twitter and elsewhere since the intelligence revelation. It is also a viewpoint held and expressed in the conservative National Review both before and after the arrival of the novel coronavirus.

“We should stop playing politics. For one moment in time, we should put people before politics, and in doing so we’ll make this nation stronger and make sure we are never reliant on China ever again. And in doing so, you’d create more businesses right here at home.”

When Cheddar’s Nora Ali pointed out that global supply chains ultimately reduce prices for consumers and create efficiency, McCarthy brushed it off by pointing to the workforce and innovation in the United States without addressing what it would mean for consumers' bottom lines.

“We’ve got innovation better than anywhere else in the world regardless if China tries to steal our innovation as well,” he said.

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