Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice took aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, criticizing his insistence on referring to coronavirus as the “Wuhan Virus.”
Rice spoke to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about the topic Tuesday, and she held nothing back.
Mitchell framed the discussion around Pompeo’s use of the phrase “Wuhan Virus,” claiming that his insistence on laying the blame for the pandemic at China’s feet was causing problems in other areas. (RELATED: ‘Nasty, Snarky Question’: Trump Gives CNN’s Jim Acosta An Earful During Coronavirus Briefing)
“We’ve seen this after a call between President Trump and President Xi in China, but it did — the Wuhan virus meme that came from Pompeo did break up a G7 foreign ministers call last week where they couldn’t reach agreement on steps forward because of the insistence by the American Secretary of State that this be blamed on China,” Mitchell explained.
“Andrea, it’s shameful,” Rice replied. “For the United States to be race-baiting and to be — a virus which never has a flag, can’t have a flag as being the provenance of one country is designed to be divisive. It’s designed to stigmatize people of Asian descent and it’s not the way the leadership of the United States, the Secretary of State and the President of the United States ought to be behaving in the best of times, but certainly not in a crisis.”
Rice went on to say that viruses can start anywhere, referencing the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 Swine Flu that was traced to Mexico, and saying that it was unhelpful at best to focus on laying blame rather than fixing the problem at hand. (RELATED: ‘I Said It, Dammit!’: Susan Rice Calls Lindsey Graham A ‘Piece Of Sh*t’)
“It doesn’t serve us well. It doesn’t serve the objective of squelching the virus globally,” Rice concluded. “To brand it in nationalistic or xenophobic or racist terms, we all have to work together on this. We can stamp out this virus effectively, eventually in the United States. China may be able to do it on its side of the world, but if it’s not stamped out everywhere, it will come back, be resurgent and be our problem yet again. So the reality of this is we have a global problem.”
Rice made no mention of the fact that China, aided by the World Health Organization and multiple media outlets, was still insisting in mid-January that the novel coronavirus could not be transmitted from person to person. She also did not address the fact that China still allows the operation of wet markets, where the virus’ suspected bat hosts are sold as a delicacy, despite a warning from scientists in 2013 that they could be breeding the next pandemic.