WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said President Biden isn’t backing former President Donald Trump’s call for China to pay more than $10 trillion in COVID-19 reparations.
“Our position hasn’t changed,” Psaki told The Post at her daily press briefing.
When pressed on whether Biden is “open” to the idea, Psaki cut off the line of questioning and said, “Did you have another question?”
Trump says China must compensate the US for allowing COVID-19 to spread from the original outbreak area in Wuhan.
“China and the China virus — they have to pay reparations. We’ve been hurt so badly in terms of death, human life,” Trump said in recent taped remarks for a Wisconsin rally, adding that “if they paid us $10 trillion that wouldn’t cover it.”
During a speech to Republican Party members in North Carolina, Trump expanded on the idea, saying that the reparations push should be an international effort.
“The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China. We should all declare within one unified voice that China must pay,” Trump said.
Trump said the US should work with allies “to present China a bill for a minimum of $10 trillion to compensate for the damage they’ve caused. And that’s a very low number. The damage is far, far greater than that.”
He added that “as a first step, all countries should collectively cancel any debt they owe to China as a downpayment on reparations.”
More than 614,000 American deaths are attributed to COVID-19.
China has rejected requests for transparency on early COVID-19 data. In a CBNC interview on Wednesday, Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro said that the outbreak may have began in September 2019 in Wuhan — well before information on the novel virus was shared publicly in December.
After initially deferring to the World Health Organization to probe COVID-19 origins, Biden in May ordered US spy agencies to conduct a 90-day investigation into whether the virus escaped the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In a statement, Bidan said that two US spy agencies lean toward a theory that the virus emerged naturally from animals. One US spy agency leans toward the lab-release theory.
The White House embraced the spy-agency review after the Wall Street Journal reported that three workers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized in November 2019 ahead of public confirmation of the outbreak.