Donald Trump took aim at CBS News and 60 Minutes on Sunday, accusing the network of improperly using its platform to defend China amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has been highly critical of the role China has played in the outbreak of the deadly virus, accusing the country’s government of withholding information and slowing the global response. On Sunday, he claimed that the CBS network is going too far in defending China
“.@CBS and their show, @60Minutes, are doing everything within their power, which is far less today than it was in the past, to defend China and the horrible Virus pandemic that was inflicted on the USA and the rest of the World. I guess they want to do business in China!” he tweeted.
As The Hill noted, Trump’s tweet came not long after the network had aired a story about a virologist who said he has been warning for close to two decades that a virus-borne pandemic was a real possibility. The scientist, Peter Daszak, said that his funding at the National Institutes of Health was cut just two weeks ago.
The report blamed the funding cut on what it called a “political disinformation campaign” claiming that a lab in Wuhan, China, may have been responsible for the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Hill noted that Trump had incorrectly suggested that a $3.7 million grant for Daszak’s research was actually earmarked for the Wuhan laboratory. In reality, close to $100,000 of the grant went to a partnership with that lab.
While some members of the Trump administration have also pressed the idea that the laboratory in Wuhan may have been responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus, either intentionally or accidentally, Chinese officials have pushed back. As Time noted, the Community Party chief for the Wuhan lab said there is no truth to the conspiracy theories.
“There is absolutely no way that the virus originated from our institute,” the government official, Yuan Zhiming, said in an interview with local media.
Other reports have backed Trump’s criticism that China was not forthcoming with information about the virus, especially in the early days of the outbreak. As The Inquisitr noted this week, a recent report from the German newspaper Der Spiegel, citing information from German’s Federal Intelligence Service, claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping asked the World Health Organization to delay a global warning about the coronavirus after it had been spreading for weeks inside China.