In a new Oval Office interview with Reuters, President Donald Trump had some stern words for China as he continued to blame the country for the coronavirus pandemic that has affected millions of people worldwide, stressing that Beijing will likely go out of its way to make sure he loses his bid for re-election in November.
As quoted by CNBC, Trump suggested on Wednesday that he is considering various ways of punishing China for the pandemic, saying that he can “do a lot.” The president, however, did not elaborate on what consequences the nation may face for allegedly not being transparent enough to warn the world about the novel coronavirus in a timely manner.
Trump then moved on to the topic of the 2020 presidential election, accusing China of wanting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to defeat him in his bid for a second term. Per CNBC, this is because the country’s officials want to “ease the pressure” the president had applied to Beijing over trade issues and other concerns.
“China will do anything they can to have me lose this race,” the president said.
Further elaborating on his chances against Biden in this year’s election, Trump opined that he “[doesn’t] believe the polls” that show Biden in the lead, BBC wrote. He added that he believes Americans are smart enough not to vote for someone who is “incompetent.”
Here's Trump blaming China for US coronavirus deaths, followed immediately by him hyping that "we're opening again." (There were more American coronavirus deaths on Tuesday than any previous day.) pic.twitter.com/pteljkog2i— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 22, 2020
As quoted by the outlet, Trump also said in a conference call with campaign officials that he’s “not losing to Joe Biden,” purportedly punctuating these words with an expletive to stress his point.
According to a report from The Guardian, Wednesday’s interview with Reuters marked the first time Trump suggested that the Chinese government might play a role in determining his chances of re-election. His latest comments about China, as noted, are also consistent with leaked Republican Party documents that allegedly advised GOP candidates to “aggressively” target the country when making public statements about the coronavirus pandemic, in order to improve their chances of re-election.
In the weeks since the pandemic started, Trump has been criticized multiple times for his response to the situation, with a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that only 43 percent of Americans approve of how he has handled the crisis. This survey, which was conducted from April 27 through 28, was published just days after the president walked back his remarks about injecting bleach and other disinfectants as a potential cure for COVID-19, claiming that he was being sarcastic.