Mo. — As you may have heard, Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against China last week saying it didn’t do enough to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Political Analyst Brian Calfano said this lawsuit is very unlikely to go anywhere, at least from a legal standpoint. But Schmitt says he wants to do right by Missouri.
“I think you look at now at what we’ve discovered and what we know is that the Chinese government, a campaign of deception and deceit and misrepresentations and they covered up information, destroyed tests, silenced whistleblowers of the true origin of this deadly virus that the world is dealing with and no corner of the world has been safe here including Missouri,” Schmitt said.
While Missouri is seeing the effects of COVID-19 in its cities and towns, Calfano says the lawsuit Schmitt filed last week may end up going nowhere.
“This seems to be a lot more about the attorney general trying to signal to the federal government,” Calfano said.
He says states don’t really have the power to sue other countries.
“States can’t enter into agreements with foreign countries, for example,” Calfano said. “States don’t belong to the United Nations or the World Trade Organization. Those are discussions, those are relationships that happen at the national level.”
“Look, my job as attorney general is to represent all 6 million Missourians as their lawyer,” Schmitt said. “That responsibility is not lost in me as the first person in my family to go to law school and be a lawyer. People look to me to be their advocate and that’s exactly what we are doing here.”
Calfano says to sue China, you have to have coordination from the state department, White House and sometimes even congress.
“The problem is that, really, states don’t really have the kind of standing to do this sort of thing,” Calfano said. “I think what’s happening here is the state governments are trying to hold the federal government’s feet to the fire and say, ‘Let’s get a move on.'”
Missouri and Mississippi are the only states to have filed lawsuits against China.