Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said Thursday that the United States should boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, citing doubts that the Biden administration has done enough to ensure the safety of athletes and coaches traveling to Beijing.
Cotton said reports that the United States won't send an official delegation to China is not a sufficient statement on the world stage, calling a diplomatic boycott the "absolute bare minimum that any civilized nation would do for these genocide Olympics." Citing China's "crimes against the world," Cotton called for a "complete and total boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics" by the United States that would extend not only to athletes but also to U.S.-based corporate sponsors.
"China unleashed a plague on the world that has killed millions of people and has disrupted the lives of every American," the Arkansas senator said during a press conference.
Cotton raised doubts that the Biden administration could be trusted to keep Americans safe during the event in February. After the administration's bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, Cotton said he did not have faith that it could adequately protect America's finest athletes on a global stage.
"The same gang that organized the withdrawal from Kabul is the gang that's in charge of the safety of these Olympians, and that's not a risk we should run," Cotton said.
Cotton also accused the Biden administration of waiting until this week to signal its diplomatic boycott of the games only because it needed China on board for the global summit on climate change in Glasgow. Cotton said many of his "panda hugger" colleagues in the Senate "care more about things like getting Xi Jinping to make some fantastical promise about carbon emissions 30 years in the future" than standing up to the Chinese Communist Party.
A group of House Republicans led by Rep. Michael Waltz (R., Fla.) has been pressing for legislation to move the games since last year.
Cotton has been fiercely critical of the Biden administration on issues relating to China. He was the first lawmaker to raise the possibility that the coronavirus leaked out of a Chinese lab, a theory that was initially written off but is now considered to be the most plausible explanation for the pandemic.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to comment on whether the United States would boycott the Olympics during her Thursday press conference.