The leaders of China and Russia dedicated their annual United Nations remarks to praising the dawn of a more multipolar world, while President Donald Trump took the podium to attack the Chinese Communist Party and to defend U.S. leadership.
In his virtual address to the 75th session of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump said Tuesday the nations of the world were once again locked in “a great global struggle” three-quarters of a century after World War II. This time, he said, the fight was “against the invisible enemy—the China virus.”
The widely-disparaged term refers to the novel coronavirus pandemic, stemming from the COVID-19 disease that was first observed in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The U.S. leader has solely blamed the People’s Republic for having “unleashed this plague onto the world,” as he said Tuesday.
“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world,” Trump said. “China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they canceled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.”
He also suggested the World Health Organization, which has led the global public health response to the disease, was in on the alleged conspiracy.
“The Chinese government and the World Health Organization—which is virtually controlled by China—falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission,” Trump said. “Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease.”
He laid the blame for the pandemic squarely on China.
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Trump said.