Donald Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. will be taking strong action against China as he ordered investigations into Beijing after claiming they knew about the coronavirus threat earlier than let on and could have done more to stop the pandemic.
‘We’re coming up with a very distinct recommendation. But we’re not happy with it,’ Trump said of potential economic consequences against China.
‘There’s nothing positive about what happened in China having to do with this subject. Nothing positive at all,’ the president continued while speaking to reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.
Louisiana is one of the states hardest hit by coronavirus after a hot spot emerged in New Orleans following the massive Mardi Gras celebrations in late February.
‘We’re lucky that we stopped it in January flowing into our country from China,’ Trump said, lauding his decision to shut down travel from China to the U.S. earlier this year – aside from allowing U.S. citizens to return home.
The president said the World Health Organization was acting like it worked for China, and said he would be issuing a ‘recommendation’ on how to deal with WHO and China.
Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is considering recommendations on how to retaliate against China and the World Health Organization as he claims both entities hid the truth about the severity of coronavirus from the rest of the world and exacerbated the outbreak
‘We’re coming up with a very distinct recommendation. But we’re not happy with it,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards
Donald Trump has blamed China for the virus spreading, claiming it would have been less severe if Beijing was transparent about the virus from the start. The U.S. has reported the most confirmed cases of any other country, surpassing 1 million this week. But the Trump administration has claimed China has been dishonest in its reporting
He already demanded earlier this week that Beijing pay reparations for the damages caused by coronavirus in the U.S. – insisting that China was secretive and hid the severity of COVID-19 early on in the outbreak when it was still contained to Wuhan, where the virus originated.
A Wednesday morning report revealed that the White House ordered intelligence investigations into whether China initially downplayed and hid the emerging coronavirus threat, a Wednesday report revealed, as Donald Trump continues to place blame for the size of the pandemic.
‘It’s coming in and I’m getting pieces already,’ Trump said of the investigations by the NSA, CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘And we’re not happy about it.’
‘We are by far the largest contributor to WHO – world health. And they misled us,’ he said, confirming he feels WHO also lied about what they knew early on about the virus. ‘I don’t know – they must have known more than they knew.’
‘We knew things that they didn’t know – either they didn’t know or they didn’t tell us,’ he continued. ‘Right now they’re literally a pipe organ for China. That’s the way I view it. So, we’re seeing and we’re looking and we’re watching.’
‘Again we give $500 million – we have over the years – from $400-$500 for a long time, for many years. And China is giving $38 million, and yet they seem to work for China,’ he lamented.
Intelligence agencies received directives from the White House last week seeking information on the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, including communication intercepts, human source reporting and satellite imagery reviews from China and WHO, current and former officials familiar with the directions told NBC News.
One official revealed that the ‘tasking’ was sent last week to the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, which includes the National Center for Medical Agency.
The CIA also received a similar request, the officials said.
Trump appeared to make reference to the orders during his Monday press conference at the White House.
‘We’re doing very serious investigations,’ the president said during his nearly-daily briefing. ‘We are not happy with that whole situation, because we believe it could have been stopped at the source, it could have been stopped quickly, and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.’
The president continues to deflect blame for the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., claiming it would have been less severe if Beijing were more forthcoming with the severity of the virus in China toward the end of last year.
He has also often showered praise on himself and his administration for shutting down travel from China in the early stages of the outbreak.
Trump blaming China for America’s economic struggles has proven effective with his political base as the president struggles to campaign without his stadium-filling rallies.
‘The president is now running against China as much as anyone,’ a person close to the president told NBC.
This week, the U.S. surpassed 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, which is more than any other country has reported and about one-third of the amount of cases worldwide. As of Tuesday night, there are more than 58,000 deaths in the U.S. from coronavirus.
Trump insists that Beijing is not accurately reporting the number of cases and deaths coming from China, claiming if they were honest, their numbers would be much higher than any other country.
He has also suggested that China compensate the U.S., and possibly other countries, for coronavirus damages. The disease originated in Wuhan, which is in China’s Hubei province, and began spreading to the rest of the world earlier this year.