US President Trump has again launched accusations that China could have stopped the global coronavirus pandemic, calling the spread “the worst attack we have ever had on our country”.
Speaking today from the Oval Office, the President went on to say, “This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center.”
What we know: So far, over 71,000 people in America have died from coronaviruses. In comparison, over 2,000 Americans were killed in the Bombing of Pearl Harbor During the Second World War. Up September 11, 2001, a total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
But while Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were direct and targeted attacks on the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting countries around the world, including China. To date, Johns Hopkins University puts China’s death toll for the virus at 4,637.
There has never been an attack like this, “Trump said in the Oval today.
The president added: “It should never have happened. It could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped in China. It should have been stopped right at the source. And it wasn’t.”
In recent days, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have doubled the statement that the virus originated from a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic was first detected last December.
The complaint was not surprisingly anticipated fierce refutation by the Chinese government, which described the accusation as a “smear” intended to strengthen Trump’s chances of reelection.
Reportedly, information shared between the Five Eyes network – an alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – contradict the Trump administration’s claim.
Trump’s recent displeasure with China is very different from his past statements about the nation and its leader, Xi Jinping, whom he previously praised for its transparency and epidemic management.
Last month, CNN identified at least 37 separate cases where Trump has praised China since January, including a recent one on April 1st. (Here is a timeline of these observations.)
As he recently did last month, Trump was promoting his administration’s trade deal with China during a briefing by the White House coronavirus task force. The president said that the relationship with China is “very good” and that “the greatest communication” is between him and President Xi.
“So look, the relationship with China is good, and my relationship with him is really good.” Trump said on April 1.