Sen. Lindsey Graham weighs in on what he feels it will take to re-open the country on 'The View'

"We are struggling with testing at a large scale,” Graham said.

April 16, 2020, 12:03 PM

The key to opening the United States and spurring the economy is robust coronavirus testing, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on ABC's "The View" Thursday.

“The key to me is testing. We are struggling with testing at a large scale,” Graham said. “You really can’t go back to work until you have more tests that show who has it who doesn’t and we’re beginning to turn the corner on that.”

Graham’s comments come as some Republicans begin to call for a robust push to re-open the United States economy, with some, including President Trump, cautioning that shutting down the country for too long could cause a “

PHOTO: Sen. Lindsey Graham appears on "Good Morning America," Feb. 15, 2017.
Sen. Lindsey Graham appears on "Good Morning America," Feb. 15, 2017.

Graham appeared on The View and outlined his ideas about how to safely return the country to work and applauded President Trump for the steps he has taken to reopen the country.

He pointed to Trump’s decision to cut off travel from China and Europe as essential in preventing the spread of the virus in America.

"I think he’s done a good job," Graham said of the president's efforts. "I blame China. The Chinese lied to the world about the nature of the virus. We lost a lot of time."

Graham suggested that China needs to be held accountable for spreading the virus and advocated for the closing of some markets in China where food is sold. He also said the United States needs to take aggressive action against China or risk another pandemic.

“We need to stop trading with China until they change their practices around controlling pandemics,” Graham said. “If we’re not tough on China now, there will be another one coming later.”

Several Senate Republicans have been calling for investigations into the origin of coronavirus over the last week, including Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

"Where did this all start from? Was this transferred animal to human? Was this from a lab in China? Might have been the best of intentions trying to come up with the different cures, with the different therapies for the coronavirus in general," he told Politico.

These comments come following remarks from chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley which suggested that some United States Intelligence officials are "hard at work" looking at whether coronavirus could have originated in a lab in China.

Graham also backed the president’s decision to pull funding for the World Health Organization, stating that he had lost confidence in the organizations leadership as a result of its handling of the pandemic.

Instead, he suggested Bill Gates ought to helm the organization.

“So a guy like Bill Gates -- if Bill Gates was in charge of the W.H.O., I would double the funding because I think we need a W.H.O., but he's not,” Graham said.

Graham had been championing funding cuts for the World Health Organization even before President Trump announced his intentions to cut funding earlier this week.

During an appearance on Fox News on April 7, Graham said he would use his position on the Senate Appropriations committee to ensure that funding for the World Health Organization was axed from the next United States budget bill.

"They’ve been deceptive, they’ve been slow, and they’ve been Chinese apologists," Graham said of the organization. "Until they change their behavior and get new leadership, I think it’s in America’s best interest to withhold funding because they have failed miserably when it comes to the coronavirus."

The president announced Tuesday night that the United States would halt funding to the World Health Organization as it investigated concerns that the organization mishandled the coronavirus outbreak.

During his remarks on Tuesday the president accused the World Health Organization of "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus."

Graham, who is running for re-election, was also asked how he thought he would fare in his upcoming race against Democrat Jaime Harrison, the former Chair of the South Carolina Democratic party who outraised Graham in the last quarter of campaign spending.

And while Graham was complimentary of Harrison, he said his focus right now remains on fighting the coronavirus.

“Right now I'm more focused on making sure that we come out of this smartly, we don't open up the economy at the sake of our own health, that we develop drugs that lessen the effect on this, and eventually get a vaccine,” Graham said. “We're at a war with this virus, and I intend to win it. We're going to starve it, bomb it and kill it.”