Trump said to ‘shut the hell up’ about China COVID secrecy to please Xi

Trump said to 'shut the hell up' about China COVID secrecy to please Xi

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleges in an explosive new memoir that former President Donald Trump told him to “shut the hell up for a while” about China hiding early COVID-19 pandemic information — after Chinese President Xi Jinping said it was a sore topic.

Pompeo writes that Xi was furious about the top US diplomat’s criticism of Beijing’s non-transparency at a March 25, 2020, State Department press conference and asked Trump during a March 26 call to silence him.

The Chinese leader told Trump that Pompeo was putting at risk the “phase one” trade deal that the two leaders had brokered that January, according to Semafor, which was given a copy of Pompeo’s “Never Give An Inch” ahead of its Jan. 24 release.

“My Mike, that f–ing guy hates you!” Trump exclaimed after the call, according to Pompeo, who was listening in on the conversation.

Days later, Trump allegedly told Pompeo he was “putting us all at risk” by upsetting Xi because the US needed personal protective equipment from China.

Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on
Chinese President Xi Jinping alleged fumed about Mike Pompeo accusing Beijing of non-transparency.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Stop, for God’s sake!” Trump allegedly said.

Pompeo recounted that he “honored” Trump’s request and that “we needed health equipment and were at the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party’s] mercy for it … and would bide my time.”

A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Pompeo apparently angered Xi by publicly accusing Beijing of an “intentional disinformation campaign” about COVID-19 and accusing the single-party state of “repeatedly delayed sharing [outbreak] information with the globe.”

US spy agencies assessed in August 2021 that a lab release in Wuhan, China, was one of two “plausible” explanations for the pandemic’s origins, along with natural animal-to-human transmission.

Mike Pompeo speaks in the White House briefing room, flanked by Trump and members of his coronavirus task force
Mike Pompeo accused the Chinese government of a coronavirus “disinformation” campaign.
AFP via Getty Images

Newly empowered House Republicans plan to investigate whether risky US-funded “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology triggered the outbreak, which killed more than 1 million Americans and caused massive economic, social and educational upheaval.

Taking a tough approach toward China is central to Trump’s political persona as he seeks a second non-consecutive term as president in 2024. On Wednesday, for example, the 76-year-old released a policy video vowing to ban Chinese investment in farmland and major US industries if he retakes power.

Pompeo, 59, has openly acknowledged presidential ambitions and he may become a competitor against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination.

Trump greets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan in 2019.
Trump allegedly told Pompeo to stop criticizing China after Xi expressed his anger.
AFP via Getty Images

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.”

Pompeo later branded Beijing’s tactics a cultural “genocide.”

Trump ratcheted up tariffs on Chinese goods during his term in an attempt to force a grand free trade agreement that would benefit US companies. The escalating feud was paused in January 20202, just before the onset of the COVID pandemic in the US, with the “phase one” agreement.

As president, Trump regularly boasted that he pressured Xi into cracking down on illegal fentanyl imports that fueled a spike in US overdose deaths. Since leaving office, Trump has floated forcing China to pay $50 trillion in “reparations” for the pandemic.

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