Trump postpones rally, warns China ties ‘severely damaged’ over COVID-19

MIAMI: President Donald Trump was forced on Friday (Jul 10) to cancel an election rally, further darkening his mood as he lashed out at China over the coronavirus pandemic while visiting one of the worst-hit US states.

As he jetted into Florida for a campaign fundraiser – ignoring health advice about the dangers of large gatherings – Trump warned of frayed ties with the Asian nation where the virus emerged late last year.



"(The) relationship with China has been severely damaged. They could have stopped the plague … They didn't stop it," he told reporters on Air Force One.

The remarks escalate Trump's war of words with China, which he has repeatedly accused of a lack of transparency over the outbreak before the coronavirus exploded into a global pandemic. China denies the allegations.

Trump also signalled that a phase two trade deal with China was not a priority now and that he had "many other things" on his mind instead.

With polls showing him trailing Democrat Joe Biden, his rival in November's presidential election, Trump has intensified his schedule of public events in order to juice his base.



Trump had scheduled a Saturday rally in New Hampshire, a state he narrowly lost in 2016.

US President Donald Trump, visiting coronavirus-ravaged Florida, warned that the United States' relationship with China has been "severely damaged" over Beijing's handling of the outbreak. (Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb)

But the White House announced Friday that it was being postponed by "a week or two" due to a "big storm" expected over the US northeast this weekend.

Tropical Storm Fay provided a way out of another roiling controversy over health concerns surrounding the event, and the possibility of low interest in tickets.

But the postponement is a blow to Trump's efforts to return to his comfort zone: center stage on the campaign trail.

His last rally, in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month, was a flop and Republican officials will be looking to avoid a repeat of a ticket prank by K-pop fans that may have impacted attendance.


The United States is by far the country hardest hit by the virus, with more than 3.1 million confirmed infections and 133,000 dead.

COVID-19 has claimed more than 4,000 lives in Florida, where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis downplayed the outbreak early on but has since been forced to pause reopening.

The Sunshine State was among at least seven that set single-day case records on Thursday, alongside Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon.

Florida and Texas also registered their highest daily death counts – 120 and 105 respectively.

"The tsunami is here," said Richard Cortez, chief executive of Hidalgo County in south Texas, after 1,274 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours in the jurisdiction of fewer than 900,000 people.

By way of comparison, Melbourne in Australia, a city of five million, reimposed a lockdown after 191 tested positive in a day.

"As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great," Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease official, told political analysis website FiveThirtyEight on Thursday.

"As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great," said Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease official. (Photo: AFP/Al Drago)

He partly blamed the atmosphere of political "divisiveness" in the country – for example the way masks were initially shunned by right-wing political leaders, many of whom have since shifted on the issue.

READ: Fauci says likely some degree of aerosol transmission of COVID-19

Trump hit out at the respected scientist, telling Fox News: "Dr Fauci is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes."

"A lot of them said 'don't wear a mask, don't wear a mask,'Read More – Source