Second, it is also important to note that the push to get tough on China is not confined to any one wing of the Republican Party, and its centrality to the party’s message will not be contingent on whether Trump is or is not reelected. Many Republicans of all stripes, particularly younger Republicans with an eye toward shaping the party’s future, have long focused on China.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has put forward legislation to remove China’s immunity in order to hold them liable for damages caused by the coronavirus. Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to sue China over the virus’s effect on Florida. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Mike Gallagher have partnered on legislation cracking down on Huawei, and Cotton was among the first to criticize China on COVID-19 vocally, raising questions about the virus’s origins and battling the media over the issue, culminating in the U.S. intelligence assessment that the virus may have been accidentally released from a lab in Wuhan.
And Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has criticized Trump at times, has also long stressed the importance of viewing competition with China as the key strategic challenge of our time, writing over a year ago that “U.S. leaders need to turn the attention of the American people to the coming long-term struggle with China.”