WASHINGTON — In a startling new memoir, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that former President Donald Trump urged him to “shut the hell up for a while” regarding China suppressing early COVID-19 pandemic material, after Chinese President Xi Jinping said it was a sensitive subject.
Pompeo says that Xi was enraged by the top US diplomat’s criticism of Beijing’s lack of transparency at a State Department press conference on March 25, 2020, and requested President Trump on a call on March 26 to silence him.
According to Semafor, which received a copy of Pompeo’s “Never Give an Inch” before to its Jan. 24 release, the Chinese leader informed Trump that Pompeo was jeopardizing the “phase one” trade deal that the two leaders had negotiated in January.
“Oh, Mike, that scumbag despises you!” Trump yelled following the call, according to Pompeo, who overheard the discussion.
Days later, Trump reportedly told Pompeo that he was “putting us all at risk” by angering Xi because the United States need personal protective equipment from China.
“Stop, for God’s sake!” Trump supposedly said.
Pompeo recalled that he “honored” Trump’s request and that “we needed medical equipment and were at the Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] mercy for it… and I would bide my time.”
Trump’s spokesperson did not react quickly to The Post’s request for comment.
Pompeo reportedly enraged Xi by accusing Beijing of a “intentional disinformation campaign” regarding COVID-19 and by claiming that the one-party state “repeatedly delayed sharing [outbreak] information with the world.”
In August 2021, US intelligence agencies determined that a lab release in Wuhan, China was one of two “plausible” theories for the beginnings of the pandemic, along with natural animal-to-human transmission.
The newly strengthened House Republicans intend to investigate if dangerous US-funded “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology caused the outbreak, which killed over one million Americans and caused tremendous economic, social, and educational disruption.
Trump’s political persona as he seeks a second nonconsecutive term as president in 2024 is predicated on adopting a harsh stance towards China. On Wednesday, for instance, the 76-year-old issued a policy video in which he vowed to prohibit Chinese investment in agriculture and important US businesses should he regain power.
Pompeo, 59, has publicly declared his presidential aspirations, and he may challenge Trump for the 2024 GOP candidacy.
Former White House national security adviser John Bolton, who is also openly weighing a White House bid, previously took aim at Trump’s handling of China — alleging in his 2020 book that during a 2019 meeting in Japan, Trump told Xi he approved of his construction of detention camps for Uyghur Muslim minorities and that “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which he thought was exactly the right thing to do.”
Later, Pompeo described Beijing’s actions as “cultural genocide.”
During his presidency, Trump increased taxes on Chinese imports in an effort to impose a massive free trade pact that would benefit US companies. The “phase one” accord halted the rising conflict in January 20202, just prior to the commencement of the COVID epidemic in the United States.
As president, Trump frequently boasted that he persuaded Xi to tighten down on illegal fentanyl shipments, which contributed to an increase in overdose deaths in the United States. Since leaving office, Trump has proposed imposing $50 trillion in “reparations” on China for the outbreak.