Donald Trump has renewed his attacks on China, saying his administration was conducting “serious investigations” into Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and suggesting he would seek damages for the US.
The US president had stopped giving press briefings after his advisers reportedly warned him that his marathon news conferences, including his widely-ridiculed comments about disinfectant as a possible treatment for Covid-19 – were hurting his re-election campaign.
The pause only lasted the weekend however. On Monday morning the White House announced that the day’s briefing was cancelled, only to reverse the decision hours later.
At the briefing Trump launched another forthright attack on China, saying there were “a lot of ways you can hold them accountable” for the pandemic.
“We’re doing very serious investigations ... We are not happy with China,” the president said. “We believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.”
Trump responded to questions about a German newspaper editorial calling for China to pay Germany $165bn, suggesting he would also seek damages.
“Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things,” he said. “We are talking about a lot more money than Germany’s talking about.”
“We haven’t determined the final amount yet,” Trump said. “It’s very substantial.”