Trump’s National Security Adviser Compares Chinese Regime’s ‘Coverup’ of COVID-19 to Chernobyl

May 25, 2020 Updated: May 25, 2020

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Sunday compared the Chinese regime’s response to the CCP virus pandemic to the Soviet Union’s handling of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

“This was a virus that was unleashed by China. There was a coverup that someday they’re going to do an HBO show like they did with Chernobyl on this virus,” White House adviser Robert O’Brien claimed during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referring to a 2019 television miniseries on what is considered the world’s worst nuclear accident in the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

O’Brien said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intentionally gave “false information” to the World Health Organization (WHO) about the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. He claimed that the Chinese regime had failed to disclose information about the virus since November, and that it has blocked foreign experts from accessing information.

“They unleashed a virus on the world that’s destroyed trillions of dollars in American economic wealth that we’re having to spend to keep our economy alive, to keep Americans afloat during this virus,” O’Brien said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He said that CCP officials, following in the footsteps of Soviet officials after the 1986 disaster, covered up the extent of the pandemic as they “kicked out all reporters and they wouldn’t let [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] investigators come in.

“They’re still stonewalling investigators,” he said.

National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien walks after being interviewed at the White House in Washington
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien walks after being interviewed at the White House in Washington on May 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant released radioactive nuclear material that killed dozens of people within weeks and forced tens of thousands to flee.

“It doesn’t matter if it was local officials or the Chinese Communist Party, it was a coverup and we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually,” he added.

O’Brien alleged that the delay into an investigation into the origins of the CCP virus has cost “many, many thousands of lives in America and around the world.”

The Epoch Times’s previous reporting has documented the Chinese authorities’ lack of transparency surrounding the virus. In the initial stages of the outbreak, the Chinese regime downplayed the risk of human-to-human transmission in public, while internal government documents showed that authorities were scrambling to contain the virus from spreading.

Local authorities have also consistently underreported virus infections, keeping internal tallies of diagnostic results that differ from officially released data.

Similarly, in the early weeks of the first SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Chinese officials withheld information and did not warn the public for months.

O’Brien said Trump’s order on Jan. 30 to block travel from China was a “profile in courage” that “saved countless lives.”

“We’ve also learned that, at the time, they [the CCP] cracked down internally and refused to allow people from Hubei and Wuhan to travel throughout China.

But “they allowed those folks to travel to Europe,” O’Brien said.

China has denied the accusations against it. Its foreign minister, Wang Yi, told the country’s rubber-stamp legislature on May 24 that the United States was “spreading lies” and attacking China.

He said that from the CCP’s perspective, U.S. actions—such as its call for an independent investigation into the origins of the virus and its opposition to Beijing’s proposed “national security” law for Hong Kong—were “pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war.”

Nicole Hao and Reuters contributed to this report.