Trump: Virus 'Is Worse Than the World Trade Center'

President stops short of referring to China as a wartime enemy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2020 1:32 AM CDT
Trump: Virus Is the Worst-Ever Attack on US
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump on Wednesday referred to the coronavirus as an attack on the US—and not just any attack. "We went through the worst attack we've ever had on our country, this is worst attack we've ever had," Trump told reporters from the Oval Office, per the BBC. "This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center. There's never been an attack like this. And it should have never happened. Could've been stopped at the source. Could've been stopped in China. It should've been stopped right at the source. And it wasn't." However, he stopped short of referring to China as a wartime enemy when asked by a reporter if he saw the pandemic as an act of war, saying simply, "I view the invisible enemy [coronavirus] as a war. I don't like how it got here, because it could have been stopped, but no, I view the invisible enemy like a war."

The comments come as the Trump administration ramps up accusations against China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisting there's "enormous evidence" the virus originated in a Chinese lab despite health experts insisting there is not. Bloomberg notes, though, that Pompeo eased off that line of attack a bit Wednesday as he continued to attack China for its handling of the initial outbreak. UPI reports he blamed the country for "hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide." (For its part, Chinese officials have called Pompeo "evil" and a "liar.") The administration is also considering taking punitive action against China over its early response, which people on both sides of the aisle believe was too slow and not transparent enough. Politico reports Democrats are starting to insist the White House either release the supposed evidence that links the virus to a Wuhan lab, or drop the rhetoric. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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