Trump says he had ‘a great relationship’ with ‘killer’ Xi
Former president Donald Trump has said that although he thinks Chinese President Xi Jinping is “a killer” who “destroyed the world” with Covid-19, he had a “great relationship” with China’s premier.
In an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Trump said that “once Covid came along, or the China virus as I call it,” his “great” relationship with Xi nosedived.
Bartiromo, normally sympathetic in her coverage of the former president, interrupted Trump to claim that Xi “is a killer.”
“He is a killer,” Trump replied, “but I had a great relationship with him.
Trump’s relationship with Xi was rarely described as “great.” Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump pushed a hardline stance on China, locking the US into a trade war with Beijing and describing China as a “foe,” while under his leadership the US’ National Defense Strategy elevated China to one of the US’ main “strategic competitors.”
However, the relationship well and truly soured following the Covid-19 outbreak. Trump from the outset insisted that the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, a theory since given credence by the revelation that the US funded so-called ‘gain-of-function’ research on coronaviruses at that lab.
“They’ve really destroyed the whole world,” Trump said, before hammering President Joe Biden for failing to follow through on his campaign promise and “shut down” Covid-19, despite “all of these vaccines and all of these incredible therapeutics.”
Asked why Biden has not pressed Xi on the origins of the coronavirus during several conversations this year, Trump replied “he’s afraid of him.”
Beijing has dismissed allegations that the coronavirus escaped the Wuhan lab. After a US intelligence report in October called the lab leak theory “plausible,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington questioned the US government’s use of “intelligence apparatus instead of scientists” to trace the virus’ origins.