President Trump launched a broadside against China over its mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and asserted the global might of the US military on Tuesday during an
address to the United Nations General Assembly.
“We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world, China,” the president said in a pre-recorded speech to the virtual global gathering.
“In the earliest days of the virus, China lockdown traveled domestically, while allowing flights to leave China, and in fact the world. China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they canceled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes,” he continued.
He went on to call out the World Health Organization, claiming it is “virtually controlled” by the Chinese Communist Party, and said the agency falsely said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the disease, which gave the virus the opportunity to pour outside of China’s borders at the expense of countries worldwide.
He said the international community is “engaged in a great global struggle” with the pandemic that has killed nearly 1 million worldwide and nearly 200,000 in the US.
“We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy, the China virus, which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries,” the president said, adding that the response to COVID-19 was the greatest mobilization since World War II.
Trump also touted America’s military strength, saying the country is “stronger now than ever before.”
“Our weapons are at an advanced level, like we’ve never had before, like, frankly, we’ve never even thought of having before, and I only pray to God that we never have to use them,” Trump said.
At the same time, the commander-in-chief said America is “fulfilling our destiny as a peacemaker, but it is peace through strength.”
The president pointed to his administration’s efforts to end the fighting in Afghanistan, America’s longest war, and the landmark peace agreements his White House brokered between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
He predicted those accords will lead to others and pave the way for peace in the Middle East.
“They are coming fast, and they know it’s great for them and it’s great for the world. These groundbreaking peace deals are the dawn of the new Middle East. By taking a different approach, we have achieved different outcomes, far superior outcomes. We took an approach, and the approach worked,” the president said. “We intend to deliver more peace agreements shortly.”
He also urged the United Nations to tackle the “real problems of the world,” citing terrorism, the oppression of women in forced labor camps, drug and human sex trafficking, religious persecution and the ethnic cleansing of religious minorities.
“America will always be a leader in human rights. My administration is advancing religious liberty and opportunity for women, the decriminalization of homosexuality, combating human trafficking and protecting unborn children,” he said.
President Trump virtually addresses the United Nations General Assembly today.UNTV via AP
The president championed his pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord and said America is still reducing carbon emissions by more than any country in the agreement.
Speaking of the environment, Trump assailed China for dumping “millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans” that “destroys vast swaths of coral reef and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world.”
“Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rapid pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America, and I will not stand for it,” he said.
The president dismissed the “same tired voices” proposing the “same failed solutions.”
“As president, I have rejected the failed approaches of the past, and I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first,” he said.
“I am supremely confident that next year, when we gather in person, we will be in the midst of one of the greatest years in our history. And, frankly, hopefully in the history of the world,” Trump said.