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Trump says China using coronavirus to make him lose 2020 election

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  • President Donald Trump said that China’s handling of the coronavirus is evidence that Beijing “will do anything they can” to have him lose the presidential election. 
  • Campaign officials have been urging Trump to take a tougher line against China, with polls in several swing states suggesting he could lose to Joe Biden. 
  • The president has taken varying positions on China — sometimes praising its handling of the crisis, and other times seeking to blame it for the pandemic. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump claimed that China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to ensure he loses his campaign for reelection. 

In an interview with Reuters published Wednesday, Trump said that he was considering a range of options for retaliating against China, remarking “there are many things I can do.”

“China will do anything they can to have me lose this race,” said Trump, citing their handling of the crisis as proof.

He claimed that because of the tariffs he has placed on Chinese goods as part of his trade war, they want to see his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, in the White House. 

“They’re constantly using public relations to try to make it like they’re innocent parties,” he said of Chinese officials.

In a statement quoted by Bloomberg, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that the country had “no interest” in interfering in internal US affairs.

“For some time, certain US politicians, in disregard of the facts, have attempted to shift their own responsibility for their poor handling of the epidemic to others,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. 

Trump has veered between praising China’s handling of the crisis, and trying to pin blame on Beijing for the spread of the disease that has triggered the worst economic downturn in the US for decades.

Back in January Trump praised China for “working very hard to contain the Coronavirus.”

But as it began to spread in the US, he attacked China’s response, and began calling the illness the “Chinese virus.”

However after a phonecall with China’s leader Xi Jinping on March 26, he again changed tack, praised China’s handling of the crisis, and stopped using the “Chinese virus” tag.

But in recent weeks, with campaign polls reportedly showing Trump losing to Biden in several battleground states amid his administration’s sluggish response to the crisis, aides are again urging the president to take a tougher line with Beijing.

They are said to want Trump to highlight Biden’s reluctance to confront China on trade issues. 

On April 19 the president scaled up his rhetoric, and claimed that China may have started the crisis deliberately, echoing a conspiracy theory that had been articulated by some Republican lawmakers and right-wing media figures. 

He has also accused China of giving flawed information to the World Health Organization, the global health body that he has said he will cut funding to after it praised China’s handling of the outbreak in its early days. 

Last week Politico reported that Trump is indebted to a state-owned Chinese bank to the sum of $200 million.

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