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Editor's Note:The Chattanooga Free Press editorial page has offered the two main candidates in the Republican primary for Tennessee's U.S. Senate seat an opportunity to write two issues-oriented commentaries before the August election. This one is by Bill Hagerty.

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Last week a U.S. intelligence report confirmed what we have known for some time: that China's government placed regime control over the health of its citizens who were suffering from the highly contagious coronavirus that broke out in Wuhan, China, by "under-reporting both total cases and deaths it's suffered from the disease."

Make no mistake, the efforts of the Chinese communist leadership to conceal and destroy evidence, even silencing their own people, is the crime of the century and the greatest cover-up in human history. The communist regime must be held accountable for the death and destruction leveled on its own people and for the widespread damage to the world's health and economy. Rather, we see global organizations like the World Health Organization and the United Nations embrace China's government, providing cover — and tacit support — for the propaganda machine that emanates from the largest communist power in the world.

Incredibly, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman accused the U.S. military of bringing the coronavirus to Wuhan. This blatant lie is shocking and atrocious, particularly as the reported U.S. infection toll from this disease — that originated in China — has become the world's largest.

President Trump, who has been standing up to China since day one of his presidency, said unequivocally that disinformation from China would not be tolerated. I am thankful for President Trump's leadership in slowing the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. My family prays for him every day as he stands steadfast against a partisan onslaught aimed at undermining his leadership in this time of crisis. Democrats, along with their allies in the media, have relentlessly attacked President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials for correctly indicating the source of the COVID-19 virus — Wuhan, China. Their partisan talking points, editorials and TV spots are giving air to one of China's darkest lies. We cannot allow this communist regime to win its attempt to rewrite history.

President Trump took decisive action early by banning travel with China, while Democrats, including Joe Biden, lashed out, calling the action xenophobic as they pressed on with their kangaroo court of an impeachment trial.

Even while China continues to provide false information and Democrats continue to undermine the president, President Trump and the administration have been working around the clock to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide relief for our businesses.

President Trump has wholeheartedly endorsed my campaign. Together, we will put an end to the lies of China's leaders about the origins and the impact of the deadly pandemic, and we will work with our allies to prevent the communist regime from gaining access to the world's critical digital infrastructure through its government-backed companies like Huawei.

Additionally, I will stand with President Trump to combat the Democrats' attempt to inject their radical socialist agenda into life-saving relief packages. We cannot allow Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to use crises like the coronavirus to steal elections, to expand government and to implement the Green New Deal. Nor can we allow radicals like "The Squad" to leverage this crisis in furtherance of their efforts to divide our nation at a time when we all need to come together.

Lastly, as we follow Gov. Bill Lee and the CDC's guidelines to slow the spread, Team Hagerty wants you to remain safe and healthy. We are continuing to do everything we can to help. To that end, we launched #CheckInTN to encourage Tennesseans to reach out to five friends, family members and/or neighbors. It is important for us to stay apart from each other right now, but that doesn't mean we can't check in on each other and let one another know that we care.

We will get through this, but it will take all of us working together.

Bill Hagerty served as the United States ambassador to Japan in President Donald Trump's administration.

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Staff photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Mar 2, 2013 - Bill Hagerty, Tennessee's commissioner for economic and community development, takes part in an editorial board meeting at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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