President Donald Trump sent mixed messages regarding China’s handling of the coronavirus Saturday, praising their “transparency” days after accusing them of blaming the disease on U.S. soldiers.
Trump appeared with his coronavirus task force to give a press briefing Saturday, during which he intermittently praised China’s handling of coronavirus as “transparent” and criticized it as “secretive.”
“I have a tremendous relationship with President Xi. I wish they could have told us earlier,” Trump said. “China was very secretive, and that’s unfortunate.”
“Tony Fauci and all of the people, the talent, that we have would have loved to have three or four months of additional time if you knew that this was going to be happening. They didn’t have that time,” Trump continued. “China was very secretive, and that’s unfortunate.” (RELATED: Bill De Blasio Asks Trump To Deploy Military To Fight Coronavirus)
This response prompted a question from a reporter citing one of Trump’s tweets from January 24 in which he praised Xi’s transparency.
China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
Trump stood by the statement, saying he praised China’s transparency “because it’s true.”
“They were transparent at that time, but when we saw what happened they could have been transparent earlier than they were,” Trump explained.
President Trump has also defended his use of the term “China virus” by citing the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to blame the disease on U.S. soldiers. (RELATED: Trump Calls Coronavirus The ‘Chinese Virus’)
Holding seemingly contradictory positions on adversarial world leaders is not necessarily new for the Trump administration. He has frequently called heads of state such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un his “friends” even as he negotiated to curtail their goals on the world stage.
The interaction came as Republicans and Democrats in the Senate continued to negotiate over a $1 trillion stimulus package requested by the Trump administration.
If passed, the bill would give $1,200 checks to every person who makes less than $75,000 annually. The amount would be reduced by $5 for every $100 an individual makes over the $75,000 boundary. Children would also receive $500.