Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad accused Beijing of being responsible for the coronavirus pandemic.
He made his comments during an interview with CNN on Friday. He said that “what could have been contained in Wuhan ended up becoming a worldwide pandemic. And that was what’s so sad.”
Branstad claimed that the “Chinese system was such that they covered it up and even penalized the doctors who pointed it out at the beginning.”
Branstad will step down early next month, ending a three-year tenure marked by a trade war and increasingly bitter relations between the world’s two largest economies.
Appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017, Branstad confirmed his decision in a phone call with Trump last week, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement Monday.
In his interview with CNN, Branstad pointed out that he had been in the role “longer than the previous three ambassadors.”
Branstad said he was willing to campaign on behalf of Trump.
“If the president asks me to appear at some of his events, I will, as I did in 2016,” he said.
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