MSNBC’s Jonathan Lemire: Trump Reacted Slowly to Coronavirus to ‘Play Nice with Xi Jinping’

MSNBC’s Jonathan Lemire: Trump Reacted Slowly to Coronavirus to ‘Play Nice with Xi Jinping’

President Donald Trump initially moved slowly in dealing with Coronavirus because he wanted to maintain a good relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. MSNBC analyst Jonathan Lemire said Monday that Trump had accepted advice that he shouldn’t antagonize China.

Lemire spoke to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough about the administration’s decisions at the beginning of the virus outbreak.

“Part of the issue here, Joe, is there’s no one in the White House who has been able to, during that stretch, was able to redirect him [Trump],” Lemire said.

“His focus was elsewhere. He didn’t want to do anything to potentially roil the markets, slow the economy which of course, in his mind, is his number one argument for re-election. That’s the lens we need to look through a lot of the decisions made in January and February is how the President was looking at the re-election, trying to get through impeachment and move forward.”

“You’re right, that was his doctor from the CDC who briefed the media that this was going to get worse than people expected. The President lost his temper at her on the flight back from India. You mentioned Pottinger. Peter Navarro. Both also had given warnings in the West Wing.”

“But both were considered in the building as hard line China hawks and, therefore, they were seen as overreacting and they were easily dismissed.”

“And the President sided with other voices, including those belonging to Mnuchin and Kushner, who said no, focus on the economy, the strategy here is to play nice with Xi Jinping,” Lemire explained.

“Don’t pressure him, don’t criticize him, don’t urge more transparency. And that slowed the presence of American doctors on the ground in China, which would have gained valuable information about the disease, as America plotted its own defense.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

Darragh Roche

Darragh Roche

Darragh Roche is Political Media Editor