Former US President Donald Trump has claimed to have been proven right on his early speculation that COVID-19 emerged from a Chinese lab, saying Beijing must compensate the rest of the world for “unleashing” the virus and “allowing” it to spread globally.
Citing statements in recent days by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the FBI that the virus “most likely” leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, Trump said “the facts are now plain for all to see.”
- He blasted the Chinese government, writing on Saturday in a Daily Mail newspaper op-ed that Beijing’s “lies and deception killed any opportunity to stop this deadly global catastrophe at the start.”
- However, neither the DOE nor the FBI provided any proof for its findings. Chinese officials responded by accusing President Joe Biden’s administration of politicizing the origin-tracing of COVID-19 and trying to smear China with unsupported claims.
- World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Friday that politicization had turned the issue into a “political football,” making it more difficult to determine how the virus originated.
Undeterred, Trump said China should be financially on the hook for a pandemic that, according to some estimates, caused $50 trillion in damages.
- The virus has been blamed for nearly 6.9 million deaths globally, including 1.1 million in the US.
“Add to that the probability that the virus emerged from a Chinese government lab, and may even have been engineered by Chinese government scientists, and it is clear that the nations of the world are not just owed a massive apology; they are owed massive damages,” he wrote.
“To collect this compensation, nothing should be off the table – tariffs, taxes, and a global summit on reparations.”
Trump said Biden has been “unbelievably weak on China – perhaps because his family has received millions of dollars from entities linked to the Chinese Communist Party.”
He also faulted Biden for joining with legacy media outlets, social media platforms and public health authorities to squash any discussion of the lab-leak theory until recently.
“There must now be a reckoning,” Trump wrote.
“The sinister censorship regimes in the United States and throughout the West must be dismantled and destroyed.”