VIEWER: Mr. President, I have a question for you: Is there enough evidence that China misled the global community by this coronavirus? If it’s so, how should the global community respond?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t think there’s any question about it. We wanted to go in. They didn’t want us to go in early. Very early. You’ll see that, because things are coming out that are pretty compelling now. So I don’t think there’s any question.
Don’t forget, China tried to blame it first on some of our soldiers that turned out to not go too far. And I really got very upset with that. That was not right. And then they tried to blame it on Europe. I said, “How did Europe get involved all of a sudden?” You know, Italy suffered probably more than anybody per capita. But Italy, Spain. France now is on an additional lockdown. They’ve got tremendous problems. All of Europe. It’s been a disaster.
And, you know, when I put a ban on, those people went, for the most part, not here. And I’m not happy about this. It’s terrible because it’s life, whether it’s here or Europe. But we put a ban on, very early, on China coming in. They went to Europe. Most of those people went to Europe. That’s why Italy was so badly affected. And you — you just see what they’re going through. China tried to blame Europe for this.
Q You told John Roberts the other day —
THE PRESIDENT: — it came from China.
Q — that you saw evidence that gave you a high confidence that the virus came from the Wuhan lab.
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going to be given —
Q Not that it was created there, perhaps, but that it came from there.
THE PRESIDENT: At the right time, we’re going to be given —
Q Can you illuminate any more about that?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’re going to be given a very strong report as to exactly what we think happened, and I think it’ll be very conclusive.
Q Is there any suggestion that it was anything nefarious or that it was just a mistake?
THE PRESIDENT: So I think they made — personally, I think they made a horrible mistake and they didn’t want to admit it. We wanted to go in. They didn’t want us there. Even World Health wanted to go in. They were admitted, but much later — you know, not immediately. And my opinion is they made a mistake. They tried to cover it. They tried to put it out. It’s like a fire. You know, it’s really like trying to put out a fire. They couldn’t put out the fire.
What they really treated the world badly on: They stopped people going into China, but they didn’t stop people going into the USA and all over the world. So you could fly out of Wuhan, where the primary problem was, all of the problems, essentially. Also where the lab is. But you could fly out of Wuhan and you could go to different parts of the world, but you couldn’t go to Beijing, and you couldn’t go to any place in China. So what’s that all about?
In other words, they knew they had a problem. I think they were embarrassed by the problem. Very embarrassed. And the — you know, the case could be made. They said, “Hey, look, this is going to have a huge impact on China, and we might as well let the rest of the world. Because the last people they want — we’ve had a great year against China, prior to the virus coming.
And I told you, 67 or so years, the worst economy they’ve had. Worse they’ve — almost on record that they’ve ever had because of my negotiations and because I taxed them on the product that they brought in. And, by the way, they paid for that tax. It wasn’t our people. They paid for that tax. They devalued their currency.
But here’s the thing: They allowed this to go into our country. They allowed it to go into other countries all over the —
Q Does it change how you feel about President Xi? Does it change your relationship with him?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I finished a trade deal that everybody said would be impossible to get. And not only a trade deal; it was a great deal for this country. But that was done months before the virus came.
I’m not going to say anything. I had a very good relationship. He’s a strong man, he’s a tough man, but I have a very good relationship with him. But this should never have happened. This should never have happened. This virus should not have spread all over the world. They should have put it out. They should have let us and other people in other countries go in and put it out, because people knew it was happening.
May 3, 2020