President Trump has declared the U.S.-China trade deal is "fully intact" after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro appeared to declare it "over" Monday evening rocking the stock futures.
Navarro, who is the Trump administration's Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, told Fox News' Martha MacCallum on "The Story" that U.S.-China relations have deteriorated sharply since the two countries signed Phase 1 of a trade deal Jan. 15.
"It's over. Here's the turning point. They came here on Jan. 15 to sign that trade deal, and that was a full two months after they knew the virus was out and about,” he said. “It was a time when they had already sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus, and it was just minutes after wheels up when that plane took off that we began to hear about this pandemic.”
Navarro clarified after the interview to Fox News that he was saying the "trust" between the two nations is "over," not the trade deal.
“My comments have been taken wildly out of context. They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place," Navarro said. "I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world."
Even though the trade deal is still on, for now, Navarro was the second Trump administration official to turn up the heat on China in the course of a few hours. Earlier in the evening, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX Business' Lou Dobbs that “there is energy” within the administration to hold China accountable for its lack of accountability surrounding coronavirus.
“It’s not acceptable that China hasn’t opened up, hasn’t been forthright with what’s gone on with this disease. And there’s no question, the disease started there,” Mnuchin said. “How did it spread through the rest of the world, and it didn’t spread through China? That’s what we want to know.”
The administration has accused China of not only delaying informing the world about the severity of coronavirus, but pointed to the communist regime's crackdown on whistleblowers who tried to alert the world about the potential danger.
China first announced the outbreak of a mysterious pneumonia in late December 2019, but downplayed the severity of it. Around this time, Wuhan police cracked down hard on eight doctors who tried to sound the alarm on social media about the seriousness of it. One of the doctors, Dr. Li Wenliang, was forced to sign a confession that stated he spread “untrue speech” about the disease on January 3rd.
The first case outside China was confirmed in Thailand on January 13th. The Associated Press reports that by January 14th, China’s regime realized how “severe and complex” the coronavirus situation was. Documents reviewed by AP show that the head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, laid out a grim assessment of the situation to other health officials.
On Jan. 15th, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and President Trump signed phase one of the US-China trade deal in Washington, D.C. According to Navarro, no warning about the seriousness of coronavirus was given then.
It wasn’t until five days after the ink was dried on that trade deal that Chinese President Xi Jinping finally issued a statement on the coronavirus, saying on Jan. 20 that his regime would “resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic.”
There are now more than nine million confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, and 471,591 confirmed deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. There are 2,310,786 confirmed cases in the U.S., and China has reported just 84,624 cases.
Trump has made it clear that he now feels “very differently” about the trade deal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I feel very differently now about that deal than I did three months ago. We’ll see what happens. It just seems to mean less to me,” Trump said in May. “It was very exciting, one of the biggest deals ever made. But once the virus came in, I said, 'how did they let that happen?’”