- Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
In the email — shared on Twitter by Texas Tribune writer Patrick Svitek — Trump's new BFF begs potential donors to pony up cash so he can continue blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic and defend the president's record.
"I am planning on spreading the word to as many Texas voters as possible that CHINA is to blame, NOT President Trump... but a voter contact operation of the scale [sic] is expensive," the email states before requesting a $10 donation.
At the very minimum, the email seems to rip a page out of the Trump playbook: if you fuck shit up, blame someone else.
It also appears to signal that Cornyn is doubling down on his earlier anti-China rhetoric, which Asian American groups blasted as racist. In March, the senator went on record repeating a debunked rumor that Chinese people eating bats triggered the outbreak.
Sure, there's plenty to criticize about the Chinese government's coverup of the outbreak in Wuhan. However, U.S. intelligence officials were warning Trump as early as January and February that the disease could blossom into full-blown pandemic.
Even as the virus reached U.S. shores, the White House's response was to dither, deflect and downplay. A recent Columbia University study estimates that if the country had begun locking down on March 1 — two weeks prior to widespread stay-at-home orders — more than 80% of deaths here could have been avoided.
Maybe in throwing cash into a campaign of public deflection, Cornyn isn't just trying to earn presidential brownie points but also trying to save his own skin.
After all, like Trump, Big Bad John also spent weeks dismissing the pandemic. We saw it when he tweeted a dad joke about the spreading virus and childishly mocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for raising concerns a relief bill backed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was packed with corporate giveaways.
With Cornyn likely facing his toughest reelection fight this November, it's a fair bet he'll continue looking to blame China — or anyone else — for the pandemic. And his impressive fundraising record suggests he'll be able to find plenty of donors willing to write checks to aid his efforts.
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