In his first major public appearance since leaving the White House in January, former U.S. President Donald Trump attacked U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, demanded reparations from China and denounced the investigation into his finances as a witch hunt. Speaking at the Republican Party convention in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump joined a chorus of Republican politicians criticizing Fauci for his handling of the Corona pandemic. Trump said Fauci was "not a great doctor, but a great self-promoter." He said Fauci got almost everything wrong in the pandemic and was also wrong in his assessment of the origin of the virus.
Fauci had expressed skepticism about a theory that the coronavirus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The origin of the virus remains hotly disputed and is under investigation by U.S. intelligence agencies. Trump's own handling of the pandemic, which has so far claimed the lives of nearly 600,000 people in the U.S., had contributed to his loss of the presidential election in November 2020.
In his speech, Trump called on China to pay $10 trillion in reparations to the United States and the world for its handling of the coronavirus. He also said the countries of the world should not repay their debts to China.
Trump also said the criminal investigation launched against him by the New York attorney general's office is the latest attempt by U.S. Democrats to bring him down. New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether the Trump Organization made false statements about property values to secure loans and gain economic and tax advantages.
Trump vowed to help Republicans in the 2022 congressional elections and again hinted at a possible run for president in 2024. "America's survival depends on our ability to elect Republicans at every level, starting with next year's midterm elections," Trump said.Trump's appearance had all the hallmarks of his typical campaign events, with lots of music and a welcome from North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley, who introduced Trump as "our president." He was alluding to Trump's unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Image by Gerd Altmann