Donald Trump. REUTERS / Carlos Barria
United States President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do everything possible” to lose him re-election in November.
In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office, Trump said he was seeing various alternatives of consequences for China from the virus. “There is a lot I can do,” he said.RELATED
Trump has blamed China for the global pandemic that has killed at least 60,000 people in the United States, according to a Reuters count, and has pushed the American economy into a deep recession, jeopardizing its hopes of obtaining another mandate from four years.
The Republican president, who is frequently accused of failing to take timely action to prepare the United States for the virus, said he believed China should be more active and inform the world about the coronavirus sooner.
File image of Chinese President Xi Jinping inspecting coronavirus prevention and control work in the Anhuali Community of Beijing. Xinhua via REUTERS.
When asked if he was considering the use of tariffs, Trump did not provide details. “There are many things I can do,” he said. “We are examining what happened.”
“China will do everything in its power to lose this race,” Trump said.
Beijing wants its Democratic rival, Joe Biden, to win the election to ease the pressure he has put on China in trade and other matters, he added.
Trump also claimed that South Korea agreed to pay the United States more money for a defense cooperation agreement.
For his part, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that China represents a threat to the world by hiding information about the origin of the coronavirus, which allowed it to spread to other countries.
Mike Pompeo. Andrew Harnik / Pool via REUTERS
President Donald Trump’s top diplomat escalated accusations between the US and China during a television interview on Wednesday. Jared Kushner, chief White House aide and Trump’s son-in-law, also said Wednesday that the president has ordered an investigation into the origins of the virus and will hold those responsible for its spread responsible.
“The Chinese Communist Party now has a responsibility to tell the world how this pandemic left China and spread throughout the world, causing such global economic devastation,” Pompeo told Fox News Wednesday morning, during an interview in the which repeatedly criticized the Chinese government. “The United States needs to hold them accountable.”
The comments came after the transparency and accuracy of US data on COVID-19 infections was questioned on Wednesday in the evening news program on China’s state television. In recent days, the state television program said that Pompeo “is becoming the common enemy of humanity” and that “it has overcome the worst levels of the human being.”
China knows that the virus outbreak originated there and is using “classical communist disinformation” to divert attention, Pompeo said.
A woman is taken to an ambulance by paramedics at a Brooklyn health center during the coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak in New York. April 14, 2020. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
“I was encouraged to see that Australia and other countries joined us, demanding an investigation, because while we know this started in Wuhan, China, we still don’t know where it originated,” Pompeo said.
Trump suggested on Monday that he could demand China pay billions of dollars for damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan City.
“We are not happy with China,” Trump said from the White House. “We are not happy with the whole situation because we believe they could have stopped it from its source.”
“It could have stopped quickly and it would not have spread worldwide,” he said.
“There are many ways you can hold them accountable,” said Trump. “As you know, we are conducting very serious investigations.”
With information from Reuters
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