In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump said he believes that China may have intentionally allowed the coronavirus to spread beyond its borders in order to damage other global economies.
- “There’s a chance it was intentional,” Trump said, in order to prolong the damage to competing economies, though he acknowledged that he did not have any evidence to support that claim.
- “They’re saying, man, we’re in a mess,” he said. “The United States is killing us. Don’t forget, my economy during the last year and a half was blowing them away. And the reason is the tariffs.”
- Trump softened his claim in the same interview: “I don’t think they would do that,” he said, acknowledging that the virus could have spread unintentionally. “But you never know.”
- China’s economy shrunk 6.8% during the first quarter because of shutdowns related to the pandemic; the U.S. saw a GDP contraction of 4.8% during the same period.
- As the pandemic began spreading in earnest in the United States, President Trump and other high-ranking officials in his administration began to circulate a controversial theory that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, though there is no evidence supporting this claim either.
- The Trump administration has been a vehement critic of the Chinese government’s handling of the pandemic, saying China should have acted sooner to contain the virus.
Trump also addressed his predictions for the economy in the leadup to election day, saying that he expects a “tremendous increase in GDP.”
China was widely considered to be past the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak that started in Wuhan last December. Restaurants and shops had reopened, and life had gradually returned to normal. A slew of new cases in Beijing last week, however, prompted the government to institute a “soft lockdown” as the city entered a “wartime emergency mode.”