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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For more than two years, Republicans and Democrats have more or less agreed the U.S. needs a China policy that acknowledges Beijing's hard authoritarian turn and the serious challenge China's growing power presents to U.S. interests.

Why it matters: The coronavirus crisis is threatening that consensus. The wedge driving Democrats and Republicans apart is concern about racism.

  • Republicans believe China is to blame for the global pandemic, and they worry that Beijing's propaganda campaign aims to erase the truth about China's early cover-up.
  • But Democrats say that emphasizing the coronavirus' links to China inflames racism against Asian Americans and that it's a cover for the Trump administration's own mishandling of the epidemic.

What's happening: Furor over a bipartisan resolution in the House last week demonstrated the growing divide.

  • The resolution, spearheaded by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), demanded that leaders in Beijing "publicly state that there's no evidence that COVID–19 originated anywhere else but China" — a reference to a disinformation campaign led by Chinese diplomats alleging the U.S. military created the virus.
  • The resolution avoided controversial phrases such as "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus." It also condemned the expulsion of American journalists from China and its mass internment of Muslim ethnic minorities.
  • Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), the lone Democratic signatory on the resolution, retracted his support after coming under heavy criticism from primary challengers and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.).

What they're saying:

  • Chu: "During a pandemic like this, people are afraid and angry, and directing that anger towards China puts [Asian American and Pacific Islanders] at risk, as we have already seen with the insults and assaults against them."
  • Moulton: "The resolution has caused division, the substance overshadowed by President Trump's divisive, xenophobic attempts to deflect from his administration's abysmal response to this virus. ... I apologize for that, and I am withdrawing my support for the resolution."

The big picture: That Democrats strongly opposed a resolution condemning well-known Chinese government missteps and human rights violations suggests that China is swiftly becoming a partisan issue.

Yes, but: The bipartisan status quo might return after the intense pressure of the coronavirus crisis has passed.

Go deeper: China to temporarily bar entry of foreigners to stop spread of coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.