President Donald Trump, during an interview Thursday, told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that the coronavirus has affected the relationship between China and the United States and that there could be a number of consequences, including cutting off the whole relationship.
With more than 1.4 million cases and 84 thousand deaths, the U.S. has been very effected by the coronavirus. When asked about potential steps to retaliate, Trump stated that “there are many things we could do.” In addition to the possibility of denying visas to Chinese students, Trump also mentioned that the whole relationship with China could be cut off.
“Now, if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship,” Trump said, in reference to the total cost of Chinese imports. In 2019, Chinese imports cost the United States $452 billion dollars, and the trade deficit was $345 billion, according to the Census Bureau.
Trump also mentioned that he was “very disappointed in China, and that they “should have never let this happen.” He particularly expressed his discontent over the fact that the coronavirus had been spreading at the same time that the United States and China were negotiating a Phase 1 trade deal. “The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me,” Trump said about the January deal.
As a part of the Phase 1 agreement, China agreed to buy at least $200 billion of American goods and services while the United States gradually reduced tariffs on Chinese imports, Reuters reports. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany stated Tuesday that the President does not plan to renegotiate the deal.
It was also apparent that the pandemic has affected the personal rapport between Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping. “I don’t want to speak to him,” Trump told Bartiromo.
China’s role in the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus pandemic is still being investigated, with President Trump previously stating that there was evidence to suggest it was released from a virology lab in Wuhan, China. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Coronavirus Expert Says Virus Could Have Leaked From Wuhan Lab)
A German intelligence report also concluded that Xi personally asked the World Health Organization to delay releasing important information about the pandemic.