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Pompeo pressed G-7 leaders to refer to 'Wuhan virus' in statement: report

The Hill logo The Hill 2020-03-25 J. Edward Moreno
Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo are posing for a picture: Pompeo pressed G-7 leaders to refer to 'Wuhan virus' in statement: report © Getty Images Pompeo pressed G-7 leaders to refer to 'Wuhan virus' in statement: report

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Group of Seven (G-7) leaders to refer to the novel coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus," according to a report by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

The G-7 leaders have thus far not been able to agree on a joint statement because of Pompeo's insistence that the group should refer to the disease as the "Wuhan virus," which other member states have rejected.

When asked about the report at a media availability teleconference, Pompeo, who repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus," did not deny the reports. Pompeo appeared to double-down on his rhetoric in an attempt to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its handling of the virus.

"We've wanted to work with the Chinese Communist Party throughout this crisis - this crisis that began in Wuhan, China," Pompeo said. "We tried, you'll remember, from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren't able to do that. The Chinese Communist Party wouldn't permit that to happen."

"The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated," Pompeo added.

President Trump and other GOP lawmakers referred to the novel coronavirus as the "Chinese virus," despite critics noting that such rhetoric could be correlated with a rise in targeted violence against Asian Americans.

Public health officials, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have advised against referring to the coronavirus by its city or country of origin.

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