In his strongest terms yet, US President Donald Trump blamed the Chinese government on Thursday for the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, as he sought to build distance between his presidency and the outbreak’s devastating toll on the US economy.
“The world is paying a very big price for what they did,” Trump said at a White House briefing, accusing China of covering up the outbreak’s early stages.
“If people would have known about it … it could have been stopped right where it came from: China,” he said.
Trump has pivoted this week to emphasising the virus’ origins in response to Chinese diplomats’ amplification of conspiracy theories that the contagion was brought to Wuhan by US troops last year. Trump’s repeated use of the term “Chinese virus” since Monday has been criticised as fuelling racism against those of Chinese and East Asian descent.
During a news briefing which ran for more than an hour despite being attended by a reduced roster of the coronavirus response task force, Trump did not mention the outbreak’s human toll in the US, now at more than 10,000 confirmed cases and at least 150 deaths.
Instead, he focused on the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, which has sent US stock markets plummeting close to where they stood at the start of his presidency.
In the wake of China’s missteps, Trump said, “the whole world, almost, is inflicted with this horrible virus and it’s too bad because we never had an economy as good as a few weeks ago”.
Source : South China Morning Post