The Trump White House dramatically escalated their rhetoric and finger pointing at China over the weekend and now a dubious accusation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has miraculously found its way into the hands of the press.
The DHS report accuses China of covering up the full extent of their coronavirus outbreak so they could hoard medical supplies.
Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states.
The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
Did China cover up the full extent of their outbreak? Probably. Did they cover it up to hoard supplies? I don't know.
I can't necessarily speak to those things, but I can speak to what has happened here in the United States.
The first thing that should be noted here is that this accusation came from the heavily politicized Department of Homeland Security, not the intelligence community. And as you probably know, Trump actually received intelligence reports in January and February that warned him about the severity of the outbreak. And American intelligence knew about it even before then. The Pentagon's medical intelligence service was the first agency to catch wind of the virus and reports about it began circulating among the National Security Council at the White House in December.
China may have tried to cover it up, but our own intelligence community does not appear to have been fooled. There was no failure of intelligence; only a failure of leadership.
The Homeland Security accusation appears to be entirely based on an increase in imports of medical supplies, but that's hardly ironclad proof of anything other than them sourcing their own needs. And in any case, at least some of what they imported was sent by Trump even after he received intelligence reports about the outbreak. Whose fault is that?
China may actually be guilty of one or multiple things, but Trump is ultimately responsible for what has happened here in the United States. Pointing fingers at China now while the Trump regime's failure is both ongoing and becoming more apparent is an attempt to cover Trump's ass.
It can be true that China ruling party is guilty and true that their guilt is not Trump's real motive for launching a new campaign against China. Trump does not care about accountability beyond what he can use to further his own interests.
I'm not the president and I don't have access to the most expansive intelligence operation in the world, but I do have access to the Associated Press and I personally began reading reports about the virus in late December. Trump didn't read a thing until the middle of March.