President Donald Trump said Sunday night in a town hall that China likely allowed the coronavirus to spread to the world so that other countries would suffer economically.
“They knew they had a problem, I think they were embarrassed by the problem. Very embarrassed,” Trump said in a Fox News town hall at the Lincoln Memorial. “The case could be made, they said, ‘hey, look this is going to have a huge impact on China, and we might as well let the rest of the world.'”
Trump noted that China banned people from traveling from Wuhan to the rest of China but allowed them to travel across the globe.
“What they really treated the world badly on: they stopped people going into China, but they didn’t stop people going into the USA and all over the world,” Trump said.
Trump’s criticism is some of the sharpest rhetoric against China since he was elected president.
“Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake and they didn’t want to admit it,” Trump said.
“My opinion is that they made a mistake, they tried to cover it, [and] they tried to put it out. It’s really like trying to put out a fire,” Trump said.
The president even spoke about his relationship with President Xi Jinping in the past tense.
“I had a very good relationship,” Trump said. “He’s a strong man. He’s a tough man … but this should never have happened. This virus should not have spread all over the world. They should have put it out.”