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Tom Cotton rips NY Times for running China scientist’s op-ed slamming US virus response

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U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., appeared to take offense Wednesday after The New York Times published an op-ed essay written by a Chinese scientist who slammed the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Just last month the same newspaper had apologized for publishing an op-ed written by Cotton, in which the senator called for the use of U.S. military personnel to quell riots following the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

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“The New York Times: Explicit Chinese propaganda: no problem,” Cotton wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Op-ed from a Republican Senator supported by most Americans: Fire the editor!”

Cotton’s June 3 op-ed, titled “Send in the Troops,” cause such an uproar among the liberal staff at the Times that the newspaper’s editorial page editor, James Bennet – the brother of a Democratic U.S. senator – submitted his resignation days later.

In the Wednesday op-ed, Chinese molecular neurobiologist Yi Rao complains that while his relatives in Wuhan, China – the original epicenter of the pandemic – survived the outbreak, his uncle in New York City – the U.S. epicenter — did not.

“The United States had two months or more to learn from China’s experience with this coronavirus,” Rao writes, “and it could have done much more to lower infection rates and fatalities.

“My father is struggling to accept his brother’s death partly, too, because he believes that he could have treated Uncle Eric – that in China Uncle Eric would have been saved.”

Earlier in the essay, Rao writes that he became a U.S. citizen in 2000, after arriving from China and attending colleges in California – but returned to China in 2007 and renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2011.

He writes that he gave up on the U.S. after just a few years because of the actions of former President George W. Bush’s administration following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“These men were ready to do anything to advance their agenda … and too many Americans went along,” Rao writes. “That period proved to me that America was not the democratic beacon many of us had thought it to be.”

Also on Wednesday, Cotton criticized the Chinese Communist Party after reports that Beijing was using its U.S.-based consulates as headquarters for spying.

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On Tuesday, during an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Cotton had doubled down on the points he had made in the Times weeks earlier regarding use of military personnel to quell rioting – in the wake of more unrest in U.S. cities, including Portland, Ore.

“The federal government today cannot stand for the vandalism, the fire-bombing or any attacks on federal property,” Cotton said. “It is right to send federal law enforcement in to defend federal property and federal facilities.”

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