The US president took a swipe at China – as well as CBS reporter Paula Reid – after the journalist asked him why there had been no “consequences” for Beijing’s “misinformation” during the pandemic.
“I wouldn’t tell you. China will find out. Why would I tell you?” Trump fired back. “How do you know there are no consequences? You’re going to find out.”
His warning coincided with the launch of a Senate probe into the origins of and response to the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said that the investigation would ask difficult questions about why the United States was not properly prepared to handle the health crisis. The inquiry will also put the World Health Organization (WHO) and China under the microscope.
“Where did this all start from? Was this transferred animal to human? Was this from a lab in China? Might have been the best of intentions trying to come up with the different cures, with the different therapies for the coronavirus in general,” Johnson said on Monday. “We need to know what role [the] WHO might have had in trying to cover this thing up.”
Accusations that China is at least partially responsible for the pandemic also came from the State Department. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in an interview that Beijing failed to inform the world about Covid-19, which purportedly originated in Wuhan, China, in a “timely fashion.” He said that the US government was focused on overcoming the crisis but that there will later be “time for recriminations.”
The United States and China have exchanged incendiary accusations over the virus, with officials from both countries alleging cover-ups and other nefarious activities.
At home, Democrats have accused the Trump administration of downplaying the seriousness of the virus while there was still time to prepare. Many Americans have instead placed their faith in Dr Anthony Fauci, who is spearheading the country’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Trump and Fauci have locked horns over how to manage the crisis. The medical expert sparked a media firestorm after arguing that lives could have been saved if the government had acted sooner to combat the virus.
However, Fauci also seems to have been slow to realize the danger. In February, he told media that there was no need for Americans to wear face masks unless they were “contagious.”
“Whenever you have the threat of a transmissible infection, there are varying degrees from understandable to outlandish extrapolations of fear,” Fauci said at the time.