The president was asked — during a Fox News virtual town hall at the Lincoln Memorial — whether there was enough evidence that China had misled the world about the deadly virus.
“Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it,” Trump responded.
“We wanted to go in, but they didn’t want us there. they made a mistake, they tried to cover it, like a fire… They couldn’t put out the fire.”
He said the US government was putting together a “strong” report on the origins of the virus, and how the Wuhan Institute of Virology might be involved. The report, he said, would be “very conclusive.”
Trump’s comments came days after he told reporters he’d seen proof that would suggest the virus originated in the lab, but said he couldn’t go into details.
The US intelligence community has said it believes that the novel coronavirus was not “manmade or genetically modified” but was still investigating whether it was caused by “an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
Earlier on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “a significant amount of evidence” suggested the virus came from the Wuhan lab.
“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.” “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.”
Chinese officials and scientists have denied any connection between the outbreak and the research facility.
During the Fox town hall, Trump accused China of suppressing information about the outbreak and allowing the virus to spread.
“What they really treated the world badly on, they stopped people going into China, but they didn’t stop people leaving China and going all over the world. I think they were embarrassed by the problem – very embarrassed,” Trump said.
“They allowed this to go into our country, other countries. This should never have happened. This virus should not have spread all over the world.”
In regards to President Xi Jinping, Trump says “I’m not going to say anything” but “this should never have happened.”