WASHINGTON—White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, during her first official press briefing on Friday, criticized the Chinese regime for mishandling the CCP virus outbreak.
“It’s no secret that China mishandled the situation,” she told reporters.
McEnany said that Beijing “did not share the genetic sequence until a professor in Shanghai did so on his own.”
She listed other cover-up efforts by Chinese officials, saying that they “shut down the lab for ‘rectification,’ they’ve slow-walked information on a human to human transmission alongside the World Health Organization, and didn’t let the U.S. investigators in at a very important time.”
“So we take displeasure with China’s actions,” she said.
When asked if the administration would force China to pay compensation, McEnany refused to comment.
On April 30 during the “Protecting America’s Seniors” event at the White House, President Donald Trump suggested that his administration could impose new tariffs on Chinese goods as a way to compensate for losses the United States has incurred.
Some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), proposed the United States cancel its trillion dollars of U.S. Treasury securities held by China.
China owned about $1.09 trillion in U.S. debt as of February, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. It is the second-largest U.S. foreign creditor, following Japan, at $1.26 trillion.
Trump said the United States could pursue tariffs instead of playing “a rough game.”
“You start playing those games and that’s tough. We have the dollar to protect. We want to protect the sanctity of the dollar, the importance of the dollar. It’s the greatest currency in the history of the world,” he said.
“We can do it other ways, even beyond that, without having to play that game.”
McEnany defended Trump’s claims that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus could have originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.
The U.S. National Intelligence Director’s office stated on April 30 that it was still investigating “whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
“The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” the statement said.
In response, McEnany said, “The President’s statement is consistent with the other intelligence assessments. While we continue to have very limited and dubious data from China, current assessments indicated that President Trump’s statement is consistent with what some analysts believe is the epicenter of where the virus began.”
Trump earlier said that he had a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of the virus.
When asked by a reporter what gave him such confidence, Trump said: “I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.”
During the press briefing, McEnany echoed Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The WHO appears to have a very clear China bias,” she said. “On Dec. 31 you had Taiwanese officials warning about human to human transmission, WHO did not make that public.”
“On Jan. 9, WHO repeated China’s claim that the virus ‘does not transmit readily between people.’ That was quite apparently false. On Jan. 14, WHO again repeated China’s talking points about no human to human transmission,” she continued.
And on Feb. 29, “when the coronavirus was spreading around the world they chose to put political correctness first by opposing life-saving travel restrictions.”
A growing number of countries have stepped up calls for more transparency from the Chinese regime, and for an investigation into Beijing’s handling of the outbreak. Two U.S. states, so far, have filed lawsuits against the regime, seeking damages for the human and economic costs of the pandemic on Americans.
Cathy He contributed to this report.