President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.
“China will do anything they can to have me lose this race,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with Reuters news agency at the White House.
Outrage as Trump calls COVID-19 as ‘Chinese virus’
The origin of the coronavirus: many theories, few genuine leads
The politics of the coronavirus: Taiwan, China and the WHO
Trump said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for China over the virus, also known as COVID-19.
“I can do a lot,” he said.
The Republican president, often accused of not acting early enough to prepare the United States for the outbreak, said he believed China should have been more active in letting the world know about the coronavirus much sooner.
Asked whether he was considering the use of tariffs or even debt write-offs for China, Trump would not offer specifics.
“There are many things I can do,” he said. “We’re looking for what happened.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic began, the US and China were already engaged in a trade war that has resulted in billions of dollars in tarrifs.
‘Shifting blame to China’
For weeks, Trump has been heaping blame on China for a global pandemic that has killed people nearly 61,000 people in the US according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and thrown the economy into a deep recession undermining his campaign for a second four-year term.
On Tuesday, he had said he wants to conduct “serious investigations” into China’s handling of the pandemic.
“We’re doing very serious investigations … We are not happy with China,” Trump said. “There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable.”
Trump has reportedly erupted in anger in recent days after seeing opinion polls suggesting that he could lose the November 2020 elections [Carlos Barria/Reuters]
Trump had previously referred to COVID-19 as “Chinese virus”, igniting a war of words with Beijing, which accused the US military of bringing the disease to Wuhan.
Meanwhile, in the Reuters interview, Trump dismissed latest opinion polls suggesting that his probable Democrat rival Joe Biden was leading in the November 2020 race.
Trump said he did not expect the election to be a referendum on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and expressed surprise that the former vice president was doing well in the polls.
“I don’t believe the polls,” Trump said. “I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don’t think that they will put a man in who’s incompetent.”
Trump’s public statement contradicts with a New York Times newspaper report, which said that the president had reportedly erupted in anger during a phone call with his campaign manager over the recent polling.
Trump also told Reuters news agency that South Korea had agreed to pay the US more money for a defence cooperation agreement but would not be drawn on the amount of the contribution.
The US president had publicly complained in recent weeks against Seoul and rejected a sum it offered to the cost of US military forces deployed in South Korea.
At least 28,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea.
South Korean legislators said US officials had demanded up to $5bn a year, about five times the 1.04 trillion won ($896m) Seoul agreed to pay in 2019.
Joe Biden claims 200 million U.S. coronavirus deaths
About 200,000 Americans have died of the novel coronavirus, but Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden says it’s closer to 200 million. “If Donald Trump has his way, the complications from COVID-19, which are well beyond what they should be — it’s estimated that 200 million people have died, probably by the time I finish…
About 200,000 Americans have died of the novel coronavirus, but Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden says it’s closer to 200 million.
“If Donald Trump has his way, the complications from COVID-19, which are well beyond what they should be — it’s estimated that 200 million people have died, probably by the time I finish this talk,” said Mr. Biden in a Sunday speech in Philadelphia.
The Census Bureau reports that the U.S. population is about 331 million, meaning that a 200 million death count would represent nearly two-thirds of the population.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Biden has misstated the U.S. coronavirus death count. In a Sept. 9 speech in Warren, Michigan, he said there had been “6,114 military deaths” from the virus, although the Defense Department said there had been seven.
The Biden campaign told PolitiFact that he meant to say “Michigan deaths.”
In June, Mr. Biden said that 120 million Americans had died from the virus, as opposed to 120,000, prompting a retort from President Trump.
“If I ever said something so mortifyingly stupid, the Fake News would come down on me with a vengeance,” tweeted Mr. Trump on June 25.
Mr. Biden said at last week’s CNN town hall that “all the people would still be alive,” if only Mr. Trump had “done his job.”
If I ever said something so mortifyingly stupid, the Fake News Media would come down on me with a vengeance. This is beyond a normal mistake. Why isn’t the media reporting it? pic.twitter.com/KkuWLkMfp7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2020
200 million deaths? That’s most of the US population.I have mixed feelings on Trump, but Biden doesn’t seem to know what day it is. He’ll be a puppet for the hard left. Really hope he doesn’t win. pic.twitter.com/Bz2wHQIkiy
— MIKE (@ExInfanteer) September 20, 2020
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CNN mum as Biden claims nobody would have died if Trump had ‘done his job’ on coronavirus
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden declared at Thursday’s CNN town hall that nobody would have died from the novel coronavirus if President Trump had “done his job,” a whopper that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper let slide. “And if the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people…
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden declared at Thursday’s CNN town hall that nobody would have died from the novel coronavirus if President Trump had “done his job,” a whopper that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper let slide.
“And if the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive,” Mr. Biden said at the town hall. “All the people — I’m not making this up, just look at the data. Look at the data.”
He was immediately challenged on social media by right-of-center commentators and fact-checks by news outlets, notably The Washington Post, which concluded, “Actually, Biden is making this up.”
“There is no data to support this, even if the president had moved rapidly in January to deal with the coronavirus and been able to persuade the Chinese leadership to be more forthcoming about the situation,” said the Post fact-check.
During the event, however, Mr. Cooper did not question Mr. Biden’s claim, a sharp contrast from Wednesday’s appearance by Mr. Trump with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, who repeatedly took issue with the president’s statements.
Mr. Cooper has made no secret of his anti-Trump views, while Mr. Stephanopoulos is a former Clinton White House communications director. Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
All the while, @andersoncooper and @CNN stand in silence while #ChinaJoe lies. #shameful #NotJournalism https://t.co/rMTdJ2Yz0m
— rick nagasawa (@ricknagasawa) September 18, 2020
CNN followed up with an online fact-check debunking five remarks made by Mr. Biden, such as his declaration that he would be the first president without an Ivy League degree, but did not dispute the “all the people would still be alive” statement.
A CNN fact-check of the ABC event said that Mr. Trump made 22 “false or misleading statements,” such as his claim that he placed a “ban” on travel from China, which CNN pointed out made exemptions for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Look, there’s just no equivalence. Biden makes some false and misleading claims. It’s important to note them. We will. But his assertions of fact have been largely factual.Trump, as we saw at the town hall and see again tonight, has been incessantly and egregiously dishonest.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 18, 2020
“[Mr. Trump] responded to a series of tough questions from Pennsylvania voters, and some more from moderator George Stephanopoulos, much like he responds to easy questions from his favorite conservative television hosts — with a barrage of dishonesty,” said CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale.
The CNN town hall held at PNC field in Moosic, Pennsylvania, was panned on the right for serving up softballs to Mr. Biden, with the conservative Media Research Center’s NewsBusters calling it a “cakewalk” versus the ABC “ambush” of Mr. Trump.
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 198,000 Americans and nearly 947,000 people worldwide since emerging from China late last year, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
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Christopher Rufo claims win as Trump ends ‘White privilege’ indoctrination within federal agencies
An occasional interview series with everyday Americans who are challenging the status quo. Christopher Rufo doesn’t work at the White House, but it sure seems like he gets results there. Just days ago, Mr. Rufo appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Channel program and boldly declared a one-man war on critical race theory. He denounced…
An occasional interview series with everyday Americans who are challenging the status quo.
Christopher Rufo doesn’t work at the White House, but it sure seems like he gets results there.
Just days ago, Mr. Rufo appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Channel program and boldly declared a one-man war on critical race theory. He denounced as nefarious and expensive the ways it had begun to intrude on taxpayers’ wallets. He urged President Trump to take action against the trend and end what he described as “White privilege” indoctrination within federal agencies.
On Friday, Mr. Trump signed an executive order doing just that.
Wearing his warrior’s cap, Mr. Rufo saw the move as a victory in a battle, not the war.
“On Tuesday, I called on the president to abolish critical race theory in the federal government,” he tweeted. “Tonight, he delivered. This executive action is the first successful counterattack against critical race theory in American history.
“Tonight, we celebrate; tomorrow, back to war.”
Like all other major conflicts, the one playing out over whether taxpayers should foot the bill for training sessions that denounce “whiteness” did not begin with a single shot, Mr. Rufo said.
And, like so many other ideas, critical race theory began in an ivory tower, removed from real-life consequences and contemptuous of alternative explanations, Mr. Rufo told The Washington Times.
He sees critical race theory as an ignoble successor to the tradition of other left-wing intellectual fads, such as the radical Frankfurt School and the postmodern French theorists of the late 20th century.
“Critical legal studies, that swept Harvard Law School, is a branch of it, just as the ‘60s and ‘70s French intellectuals are,” he said. “What they did was take critical theory, essentially an intellectual and literary notion, and applied it to law, public policy, race. They created a many-headed monster.”
Critical race theory is a philosophy that argues, in general, that racism is a structural system created by embedded cultural assumptions and ideas rather than merely a set of specific laws or individual actions with malicious intent. In practice, it almost always describes the U.S. as a racist society to the core rather than as a society in which racism once existed or now exists as an anomaly.
Mr. Rufo, 36, conducts his war on two fronts: public records searches and sources.
Through both, he has exposed how Seattle trained White public employees on “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness,” which showed the workers their “complicity in the system of white supremacy.”
After reviewing the material, Mr. Rufo, who lives in Seattle, wrote in City Journal that it framed the discussion “around the idea that Black Americans are reducible to the essential quality of ‘blackness’ and White Americans are reducible to the essential quality of ‘whiteness’ — that is, the new metaphysics of good and evil.”
Such reductionist reasoning with its emphasis on skin color and its insistence on universal applicability is, Mr. Rufo said, racist.
He compares it to discredited sociobiological theories such as those of Cesare Lombroso, which held that criminals had distinctive physical features.
“It revives all the most horrific concepts from the racism of a century ago, this pseudoscientific idea people are reducible to this essential quality of race,” he said. “Now it’s segregation all over again — with training sessions, dorms, workforce participation. We used to recoil in horror at the prospect of ‘Whites only’ bathrooms. Now it’s a sign of progress?”
Mr. Rufo was involved in another project last month that may have caught Mr. Trump’s attention more than the dubious Seattle training. As an employee at Sandia National Laboratory, the federal government’s biggest nuclear weapons research facility, he exposed critical race theory running rampant there.
Executives at the labs last year wrote letters of apology to marginalized groups after reciting mantras about “White privilege” and “male privilege,” part of their mandatory workshop run by the “White Men’s Caucus on Eliminating Racism, Sexism and Homophobia in Organizations.”
Casey Peterson, an engineer at Sandia, wrote an internet post that went viral and revealed the critical race theory material given to employees at the labs.
Mr. Peterson found the arguments about systemic racism and the de facto assumption of guilt among all members of a race to be a fundamentally political argument and objected to management’s push of the belief.
When he approached Sandia’s human resources department with his concerns, Mr. Peterson said, he was given the Orwellian response that he needed to check his thinking. After he published the material in a podcast, he was placed on administrative leave.
“This is an ideology that is political in nature, grafted onto a Marxist structure,” Mr. Rufo said. “This whole oppressed-oppressor narrative has no place in our public institutions. Can you imagine the same thing being done with an anti-abortion stance or gun rights? It’s unthinkable because these are private, political matters.”
Mr. Rufo does not do the kind of work usually associated with a modern documentary filmmaker, but that is what he hopes to do.
He has produced four documentaries for PBS, and he said his politics about 15 years ago could have been described as “progressive.”
Since then, they have followed an arc from libertarian to conservative. Mr. Rufo said the transitions were triggered by what he saw as the creeping monolithic thinking in the documentary industry.
“If you look at the Sundance Festival for the last five years, with really no exceptions, the documentaries are all very progressive in their political orientation,” he said. “They touch on CRT, [critical gender theory], queer theory. It is no longer a business about making entertaining films that will reach a broad audience. It is about work that supports the dominant ideology.”
Mr. Rufo said his career has suffered from the crusade against what he considers, at root, a racist ideology.
“I’ve definitely encountered some people, even some former colleagues, who have said, ‘I can’t work with you anymore because you are a conservative,’” he said. “There are now some doors pretty tightly closed to me with people who have funded my work in the past.”
The cost of critical race theory to taxpayers is also growing. Mr. Rufo highlighted that spending, which also could have contributed to Mr. Trump’s action.
One critical race theory training guru, Howard Ross, has raked in more than $5 million in federal contracts for workshops that tell White people they are inherently racist and impediments to “race-based growth.”
Mr. Rufo’s work has unearthed contracts for workshops on “Difficult Conversations About Race in Troubling Times” at the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Credit Union Administration.
Mr. Ross even landed a $500,000 contract with NASA to guide employees through issues of sexual orientation, power and privilege.
“I don’t know. Is that a good use of taxpayer’s money?” he asked. “Should a plumber in Omaha be paying for astronauts to explore their sexual identity in outer space? It’s completely insane, and I think it’s a scam.”
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