Rep. Michael McCaul says the United States needs to hold China accountable for COVID-19. The Texas Republican joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss how we might do that.

“I think it’s becoming more and more clear as the evidence unfolds, when we talk about the origins of COVID-19, that it’s more likely it came out of this laboratory,” McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China.

“And the lengths to which the Chinese Communist Party went to cover this up: detaining doctors, silencing them, destroying lab samples, not allowing the [World Health Organization] to declare it an epidemic, then a global pandemic. They have the blood of 3.5 million people on their hands, and economic chaos and destruction throughout the world.”

We also cover these stories:

  • The Biden administration announces Thursday that it is sending 25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine abroad to nations in need. 
  • The cases of COVID-19 have fallen to the lowest levels since March 2020. 
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs legislation to discourage Texas communities from defunding their police department. 

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Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on The Daily Signal by Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas. Congressman McCaul, it’s great to have you with us on The Daily Signal.

Rep. Michael McCaul: Thanks for having me, Rachel.

Del Guidice: You’ve talked a lot about how the United States really needs to hold China accountable for what happened with COVID-19. Why is this, and how can the U.S. hold China accountable?

McCaul: I think it’s becoming more and more clear as the evidence unfolds, when we talk about the origins of COVID-19, that it’s more likely it came out of this laboratory.

I say that because a lot of stuff that’s been declassified since the time I’ve seen it classified, like the researchers coming down with being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms consistent with COVID in November of 2019, and the lengths to which the Chinese Communist Party went to cover this up—detaining doctors, silencing them, destroying lab samples, not allowing the [World Health Organization] to declare it an epidemic, then a global pandemic.

They have the blood of 3.5 million people on their hands, and economic chaos and destruction throughout the world. So I do think accountability is important here. I think one of the best ways to hurt them punitively and protect our national security is to pull these supply chains out of China and the region.

That would be three main areas: medical, which we saw they exploited with the [personal protective equipment]; rare earth minerals, which … are critical minerals that they’ve cornered the market on; and lastly, advanced semiconductor chips, they’re in everything from your iPhone to the F-35.

We’re in the process of bringing that manufacturing back to the United States, particularly on the advanced semiconductor chips, and we have a bill in Congress going forward. That will hurt them economically.

And then I think we got to stop the cash flows into China, and that would be the investment. We need to clear certain entities, sanction them so that these index funds and capital flows can’t, basically, float up the economy of China anymore.

Del Guidice: You had said on CNN during a recent interview that you think that the virus was from a Chinese lab, but that it wasn’t an accidental release. Why do you think that? Can you walk us through what you think happened there?

McCaul: Well, we had State Department cables talking about the safety protocols being violated. They did accidentally release SARS in 2004. It’s very consistent with that.

They were genetically modifying a corona-like virus from bats, seeing how it could extrapolate to humans and try to develop a vaccine. So their focus was really vaccine-related, we don’t believe it was a weaponization program, although you can’t count anything out.

We do know that the military had access to this lab, that has come out recently as well. But right now we think it’s probably more likely to have been an accidental leak, but then, as I call it, the greatest cover-up in human history because of the consequence of this.

Del Guidice: What should Americans know about these labs in China that are working on diseases?

McCaul: They’re called Level-4 facilities. They have the most lethal toxic viruses that are on the planet. And they’re tinkering with Mother Nature.

We have Level-4 facilities in the United States as well, the biological warfare agreements outlawed weaponization. We look at it in terms of how can we provide cures, treatments, and vaccines. And that’s what China was supposed to be doing as well.

But if not handled right, if not contained properly, it can be very dangerous. And I think COVID-19 is a prime example. And if we don’t get to the bottom of this, how are we going to stop the next COVID wave of COVID-, say, 21 or COVID-whatever that’s down the pike?

Del Guidice: The media was very dismissive of the lab theory. They called it a conspiracy theory. Do you think that hurt the media’s ability to find out the truth really about how COVID started?

McCaul: I think the media lost a lot of credibility on this one. I know Sen. Tom Cotton was talking about this. I had a lot of conversations with him. I generated my own “origins of COVID-19” report from the China Task Force that I chaired. And we talked about the lab in that report. And that was a while back.

I kind of feel like we’re being vindicated now, and the press was wrong and we were right, but it just shows you how biased they can be. Like in this case, not wanting to look at any of the facts or the fact that everybody pointed to the wet market, but you have their top Level-4 facility just right down the street. It doesn’t take a stretch of imagination to think that, hey, just maybe, it came out of this lab.

Del Guidice: You’ve authored legislation called the CHIPS Act that would make, very simply, the United States less dependent on China. Can you talk more about this legislation?

McCaul: Yeah. This was Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and Secretary [of Commerce] Wilbur Ross came to me and national security adviser [Robert] O’Brien to talk about how can we pull these chains out of the region, out of countries working with Taiwan, to pull TSMC into Arizona, because they were being tapped into by the [People’s Republic of China], and chips were going to build their hypersonic weapons.

So we want to pull out of South Korea, Taiwan, into the United States, incentivize through tax incentives these manufacturers of these cost-intensive fabrication plants that make the advanced semiconductor chips.

Companies like Samsung right here in Austin, they’re expanding. You’ve got Intel and IBM, they’re going to do a joint venture to expand either in Texas or in New York. And you have several other companies like that. We think not only would that provide more manufacturing jobs in the United States, but it will also protect our national security.

Del Guidice: Well, big picture, what do you think the U.S. should be doing about China in the next few years?

McCaul: I think we have to recognize that they’re the greatest generational challenge to the United States, that they are [our] long-term greatest national security threat, that it’s an economic competition, it’s a military competition.

It’s generational, just like my dad’s generation of World War II, to the Cold War, to 9/11. Now it’s going to be, for my children, the Chinese Communist Party. And we have to wake up. I think people are waking up, we got to compete with them globally.

Del Guidice: We’ve talked about China and some foreign policy issues there. However, as you’re the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, what big issues do you see most pressing for the U.S. to be leading on on the world stage?

McCaul: The most important issues pressing the United States on the world stage?

Del Guidice: Yeah.

McCaul: I think it’s really shifted to who are our foreign nation adversaries. Russia is a good example.

And we look at what the Biden administration has done, canceling Keystone pipeline, which is the cleanest way to transfer energy, according to the secretary of energy, and yet allowing [Russian President Vladimir] Putin—with the national interest waiver that they gave him—to complete his pipeline into Europe. That doesn’t make sense to most Americans. While at the same time, Russia is hacking into Colonial Pipeline and shutting it down for days.

I think we have to wake up that Putin is not our friend. We had mandatory sanctions on them on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and now the Biden administration has just completely waived those and allowed Putin to enrich himself and build his pipeline while [President Joe] Biden is shutting down our pipelines in the United States. And now he’s shutting down Alaskan Arctic drilling.

So we were energy independent. I’m very worried we’re not going to be under this administration.

Del Guidice: To switch gears a bit, we’ve been talking about everything abroad to move home, and talk about the U.S. and Texas specifically, you represent a border state. Can you tell us your perspective of what’s happening at the border right now?

McCaul: It’s probably the worst I’ve ever seen it, it’s a crisis. It’s not closed, as the secretary of homeland [security] talks about. In fact, Chad Wolf and I, the former secretary and I, are discussing this as a self-inflicted wound by the Biden administration.

They took these agreements we made with Mexico and Central America, that really brought this surge of migrants to a grinding halt, and they—in the stroke of a pen on Inauguration Day—completely reversed these policies, only because they had the name “Trump” on [them].

Now we have a thousand a day crossing. I’ve been down there many times, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen it. And the morale down there’s the worst I’ve ever seen it with Border Patrol. And they don’t know how to fix it. And that’s a problem. And it’s going to be every American’s problem as they come to your hometown.

It’s not just my state, they’re passing through Texas and they’re going to your hometown, wherever that may be, across the United States. And it’s going to be a million more people that we cannot deal with, and they have no legal status. It’s just an absolute disaster. And it’s going to be hard for them to get out of this.

Del Guidice: How is illegal immigration affecting Texans in particular?

McCaul: Well, the violence, the traffickers, they come over, it’s dangerous to people living down on the border. No one wants to buy a ranch down there anymore because of the threat of violence, but more so as they bring these children in, they create a diversion, and over on another part of the border, that’s where they drop the drugs and the bad actors.

In Austin, Texas, we had four kids that my daughter went to high school with, died from fentanyl abuse. They thought they were taking Xanax. It was laced with fentanyl, and they never woke up. …

We used to be a pass-through state. It was more northeast and Rust Belt. Now it’s Texas. I’m telling you, the amount of drugs coming in right now, and particularly fentanyls, are going to create an opioid crisis in this nation and kill a lot of people that unwittingly don’t even know they’re taking fentanyls.

Del Guidice: If there’s one thing about the border crisis that the media isn’t reporting that you want people to know, what would that be?

McCaul: That these children are exploited. They don’t have their parents, they’re in tears down there. They don’t know where they are. It’s not helping them. And when I talked to the Central American ambassadors, they say, “We’re losing a generation of children. And we want them back.”

We were looking at private investment in Central America to lift up their economies … so we don’t have this migration phenomenon. But the biggest takeaway is that the traffickers are winning, and the kids are losing.

The traffickers are making $15 million a day, and over half a billion a month, on this enterprise. And they don’t give a darn about these kids. All they care about is making $5,000 to $8,000 a child, and taking a life’s savings from a family in Central America that don’t have that much money.

Del Guidice: As someone who is from a border state, what do you think needs to happen to fix this crisis?

McCaul: Well, I think [former President Donald] Trump had it right. I mean, we have the infrastructure, we have the technology, we have the manpower. And more importantly, the policy and the asylum agreements that basically said, you can apply for asylum, but you’re going to remain in Mexico. And that way they weren’t touching foot in the United States, where they could stay.

Since Biden has reversed that, they can stay, the traffickers know they can stay. And now they know the United States is open for business: green light, come on in. And that’s really what’s happening right now.

Del Guidice: You talked a little bit about the cartels and how they take these life savings from families in Central and South America, the kids that come over and are misused, or raped, abused. Can you talk a little bit about how involved the cartels are?

I think a lot of Americans don’t realize that the cartels control who crosses. I think a lot of people think, “Oh, it’s just families that leave their home and cross the border, and it’s just this organic movement.” When in fact, I mean, I’ve been there a bunch and the cartels control it. Can you explain that for people who might not understand that?

McCaul: They have more control over the border than we do. They are very sophisticated. They’re an international criminal organization. It started out Medellín Cartel in Colombia, and then they started to move north toward northern Mexico.

We saw that phenomenon a couple of decades ago, but it’s international, too. It’s not all Central Americans coming across. It’s special-interest aliens coming from Africa and the Middle East.

And that’s what worries us from a national security standpoint: If you don’t know who’s coming in, you can’t control the threat. And they have scouts down on the border that they watch our Border Patrol. They have a very advanced communication system.

They have so much money that’s built into their criminal enterprise and quite frankly, the hardware and the armor that they have. There’s a great video you can pull up on the web that shows, it’s the New Generation Cartel, and it looks like an army, a hundred armored tanks with crosses and skull bones.

And these people are very vicious. And in some respects, not too much unlike ISIS. And they have no regard for human life. Like I said, they don’t care about these kids, and they murder each other constantly down there.

Del Guidice: You mentioned this earlier in our conversation, but before we wrap up, I wanted to talk about the Keystone pipeline. The Biden administration decided to shut it down. What’s your perspective of this and how does it impact Americans?

McCaul: I think, again, this Green New Deal, they see it as an environmental threat, but then paradoxically, the secretary of energy in this administration said that pipelines are the safest and most environmentally best way to transport energy. And yet they shut down, symbolically, the Keystone pipeline.

So how are we going to transport that energy now? By freight, by train, and by 18-wheeler. That makes no sense.

So all the jobs associated with it here in my state, the welders that were building the pipeline, the blue-collar workers, they don’t have a job now because he just shut that down.

He’s suspending the Arctic drilling that we actually, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, created. He’s going to kill jobs in Alaska. And at the same time, giving a national security waiver to Putin to let Putin finish the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

How much sense does that make? Particularly as the Russians are using their advanced cyber capabilities to shut down our Colonial Pipeline in the United States, causing a short-term energy crisis.

Del Guidice: Congressman McCaul, thank you so much for joining us on The Daily Signal. It’s great having you with us.

McCaul: Thanks, Rachel. I appreciate that.

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