President Trump unleashed a series of scathing tweets Wednesday night in response to what he called a “massive disinformation campaign” launched by the Chinese government regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said Beijing was “desperate to have Sleepy Joe Biden win the presidential race so they can continue to rip-off the United States, as they have done for decades, until I came along!”
The president also accused two top Chinese spokespeople of trying to “deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world.”
In addition, Trump appeared to direct blame toward China’s President Xi Jinping, although he did not mention Xi by name.
“It all comes from the top,” Trump wrote. “They could have easily stopped the plague, but they didn’t!”
Trump and his administration have blamed the Chinese government for the pandemic. They accuse Chinese officials of downplaying the scale of the outbreak in Wuhan and providing faulty data to the World Health Organization – resulting in nations around the world, including the U.S., being ill-prepared for the actual impact of the virus as it crossed their borders.
Trump and other critics have also accused the WHO of echoing Chinese propaganda regarding the virus instead of acting as impartial and vigilant guardians of global health.
The president’s Wednesday night tweets followed a series of posts earlier Wednesday from Lijian Zhao and Hua Chunying, two spokespeople for the Chinese foreign ministry.
In one message, Zhao blasted Trump’s threat to end all U.S. funding for the WHO.
“Regarding President Trump’s letter to [WHO director-general] Dr. Tedros, we think the US should focus on beating #COVID19,” Zhao wrote, “rather than give an ultimatum to the organization that leads global epidemic response.”
In a second message, Zhao took aim at “some Western countries,” accusing them of “politicizing the origin of the virus.”
“Some Western countries demand priority for tracing the origin of the virus, but the vast majority of countries believe the containment and control of #COVID19 is need of the hour,” Zhao wrote. “Politicizing the origin of the virus has no audience.”
Hua stridently defended the WHO while taking a jab at the U.S.
“#WHO is a UN specialized agency. Roughly 90% of its leadership are US experts,” she wrote. “WHO bows to no individual or country. It serves the health and welfare of all mankind.”
Across two earlier tweets, Hua questioned the U.S. version of events related to the outbreak.
“US non-stop disinformation may confuse and mislead some for a while,” she wrote. “But in the end facts speak for themselves.
“Just to list a few,” she continued.
“US claimed only 1 case as Wuhan was closed on Jan23.
“US had 1896 cases as it declared national emergency on Mar13.
“US had 7087 cases as China reported 0 new domestic cases on Mar19.
“Now US has 1,570,583 cases&93,533 deaths.
“Who on earth should be accountable?”
But Trump pushed back against the accusations from the Chinese.
“Spokesman speaks stupidly on behalf of China, trying desperately to deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world,” Trump wrote. “Its disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe is a disgrace.”
As of early Thursday the coronavirus has sickened more than 5 million people across the globe and killed more than 328,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.