US President Donald Trump has always blamed China for the worldwide pandemic.
From the beginning, he dubbed the virus the “China plague”, and lambasted Beijing for its early inability or unwillingness to control the disease, even while he was claiming to the American public that it would soon be conquered in the US.
Eight months in and China is well on the road to recovery while the US has become the worst hit country in the world with a death toll of 200,000 and still rising.
Now Trump has contracted the disease himself and is currently hospitalised near Washington DC.
His plight may cause him to blame China even more loudly and take an even tougher line with President Xi Jinping.
For months, Beijing has taunted America over its “inept” response to the pandemic. Now there are signs they are worrying how the president and his administration will react to his illness.
Trump’s allies are already weighing in against China. Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted on Friday that, “China gave this virus to our President; we must hold them accountable.”
Congressman Mark Walker, member of the House Subcommittee for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, asked rhetorically, “Is it fair to make the assessment that China has now officially interfered with our election?”
In China, official state media has displayed little sympathy for Trump, saying that he had only himself to blame for catching the virus because he had always played down its seriousness.
The Global Times, generally hawkish in its attitude to the US, after an aggressive few days, finally tweeted an image of Trump and the first lady posing with President Xi and his wife, with the message: “Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to Donald and Melania Trump on Saturday, in which he and his wife Peng Liyuan hope the presidential couple an early recovery from Covid-19.”
The article also warned people against gloating about the president’s condition, saying, “it is only natural that Chinese people feel upset with the US’ increasingly extreme China policy, especially as some US politicians slander China over the pandemic.
“However, I hope that Chinese people restrain themselves when they comment on Trump’s infection.”