In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has been highly critical of the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
On Sunday, NBC’s Chuck Todd asked National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien if he thought Trump’s comments about China, in the early days of the outbreak, emboldened the country’s leadership.
“I don’t think so,” O’Brien said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday.
“I think the thing we have to focus on with the virus, and what the president did, is for the first time in the Oval Office briefing, on the 28th of January, when I raised with the president that this was a significant national security threat, he immediately — against the advice of many of his other advisers — he immediately imposed a travel ban on China on the 30th, two days later.”
“It was a profile in courage, and it was something that he was criticized for by his political opponents, and by many in the media. That saved countless lives. I think that’s the thing that we have to focus on with China,” O’Brien added.
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Additionally, O’Brien said that Trump’s shift in tone regarding China came after the government was not transparent and cooperative with medical professionals about the virus.
“We were hoping that China would allow CDC doctors into China,” he said. “We were hoping that China would give us more information on the virus, and give us some of the genetic information we needed. Unfortunately, China did none of that. And so we’re in a very different place with China right now, and the president’s made that clear. The Chinese didn’t do what they said.”