Chinese President Xi Jinping wishes Trump, Melania a ‘fast recovery’ after COVID diagnosis
“My wife, Peng Liyuan, and I express our sympathies to you and your wife and wish you a fast recovery,” Xi said, according to state TV on its website.
The message came a day after the president and first lady tweeted that they both tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
Chinese state media had another reaction, however.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-run Global Times, mocked the news in a since-deleted tweet.
“President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19,” Hu wrote. “The news shows the severity of the US’ pandemic situation. It will impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also negatively affect his reelection.”
U.S.-China tensions have become increasingly strained since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the U.S., just as the two countries were starting to work toward a trade deal.
The president has dubbed COVID-19 “the China virus” and frequently blames the Chinese government’s initial attempts to stifle news of the virus as the reason it spread to the rest of the world. Nearly 35 million people have contracted the virus globally, and more than 1 million have died, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had also attempted to push the narrative, without evidence, that U.S. Army members caused the outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) published an investigative report in February that traced the origins of the virus to Wuhan, China.
The president announced in May that he would halt all funding for the World Health Organization for putting “political correctness over lifesaving measures” and failing to stop the outbreak.
Trump also said the U.S. was the WHO’s largest financial supporter, contributing $400 million to $500 million per year to the organization, whereas China only contributed about $40 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.