- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2020

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said there needs to be a broader discussion on hitting China for “compensatory damages” because of how the country has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think there needs to be a national discussion — has to be bipartisan — about compensatory damages by a country that inflicted this pandemic on the world,” Mr. Navarro said in an interview that aired Saturday on Fox Business Network.

He said questions on a would-be enforcement mechanism were above his pay grade.

“I’m simply suggesting to you that this crisis, and China’s role in virtually manufacturing this whole crisis — we need to have a national discussion,” he said.

The virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China late last year before it spread around the globe. There are now more than 4.5 million infections and more than 300,000 coronavirus-related deaths worldwide.

Several state attorneys general in the U.S. have filed or threatened lawsuits seeking damages from China over the virus, and congressional Republicans have introduced legislation that would make it easier for Americans to sue the country.

Mr. Trump said this week he and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a good relationship but that he doesn’t want to speak to him at the moment.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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