QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us live on New Hampshire Today.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Great to be with you.

QUESTION:  My two questions for you – and I want to get right to it because we’re a little bit late going into this – I’ve been talking regularly on my morning show on the stations we’re on – I’d like to know how many actual cases there were in China or are, how many deaths.  I think it’s germane because it tells us what we’re dealing with.  I don’t believe a thing we’ve been hearing out of China.  I don’t believe that the state of Massachusetts neighboring has as many cases or deaths and – out of Wuhan.   So how many actual cases, Mr. Secretary, do our intelligence folks say happened in China and deaths?  And what was the source of this?  Did it – do we have evidence it came from the Wuhan lab or did it go bat-to-human?  Good morning.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning.  And so those are great and important questions.  With respect to the source of the virus, look, we know this much:  We know that this originated in Wuhan, China.  That was challenged by the Chinese at the front end.  This administration was very clear we weren’t going to accept that disinformation, pushed back.  I think the whole world knows that this began and originated there in Wuhan.  Where exactly it came from, it matters.  We want to know the answers to that.  There’s evidence that it came from somewhere in the vicinity of the lab, but that could be wrong.  We need to get the answer to that.  It matters because we need to know where patient zero came from.  We need it for all of the epidemiological work that needs to be done to protect Americans today and tomorrow.

Second, with respect to the data set that’s coming out of China with respect to cases and deaths, I have no confidence in that data.  I see reporters report all the time that the United States has the most deaths and uses China’s data as being factual and accurate.  That’s a mistake; that’s an enormous mistake.  That data – there’s no reason to believe that information that’s coming out of China.  As for how many there were, we’re trying to figure our way through that, but we are watching what China has done.  And there’s no reason to believe that either the reported cases that are coming out of China or the death totals that they have provided remotely reflect what actually took place and continues to take place there.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary of State, why does our national media continue to take those numbers out of China and report them as gospel?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s very unfortunate.  It’s unfortunate for the American people because they deserve to know the truth, the facts, the things that we can put our fingers on and say with certainty – and in this case, they can’t.  I – you’d have to ask them why they continue to report this information as if it was factual and accurate.  I think they know that it’s not.  I couldn’t tell you why they use that information and present it as if it’s representative of what really took place.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, are we, the United States, working with any of the health care officials in China on a vaccination, or are we doing this independently through our private and public sector here?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  So, I don’t know all the details of precisely what’s going on, but I know there is a global effort.  So, we’re working with partners in many, many countries around the world, sharing information, sharing data, trying to get both therapeutics and a vaccine.  It is unfortunate that the Chinese Communist Party has chosen not to share their data, not to behave in a transparent way.  They have a special obligation – this is where it broke out – to share that data with the world, and they have chosen not to do so.  I think that’s indicative of what communist parties do.  It’s what communist institutions do.  Freedom-loving nations want information shared, want transparency, and want good things for people all around the world.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo live on New Hampshire Today – when the President first started doing the briefings, he would start by talking about an update on that China virus.  Media would ask him why he was calling that; he said he wanted to be accurate.  It’s a virus and it came from China.  I’ve always wanted to know:  Why did the President stop referring to that?  Was there any pressure from China, the leader of China, to ask him to stop doing that or not?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I don’t think the President changed much on China since he was campaigning.  I remember listening during the campaign, singling out China as a potential risk and threat to the American worker, workers in New Hampshire, workers all across America.  And as a CIA director first and now as his Secretary of State, I’ve watched him give us the space and the directive and the guidance to go make sure that we did the right thing for working people all across America, not letting China steal intellectual property, making sure that we had fair, reciprocal trade, making sure that our military had what it needed to push back against China where that poses potential threats, all of the things that emanated long before this virus, things that concerned us about the Chinese Communist Party long before this virus broke out.  We talked about this China virus – I think he’s been pretty clear when they accused it of coming from – if I remember right – an American soldier, the President was unambiguous about pushing back against their propaganda.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, before we let you go – Mike Pompeo on New Hampshire Today – World Health Organization.  There have been a lot of questions about it.  The President recently talking about withholding funding, not too happy.  But I want to ask you.  You’re also, as you point out, the former CIA director.  You’ve seen a lot about the intelligence.  Can we trust the World Health Organization?  Were they complicit in underplaying the numbers out of China in the beginning?  Does China have undue influence over WHO or not?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah.  I’ve spoken about this.  They didn’t get it right.  The WHO failed in its mission to provide the information to the world in a timely fashion about the risk that was emanating from China.  They knew it; they saw it.  There was pressure from the Chinese Government not to declare this a pandemic, and it became a political institution rather than a medical, scientific institution that it was designed to be.  And the President’s done the right thing, very consistent with what he always does – Mike, this isn’t working.  Let’s go take a look at it.  Let’s see if there’s a piece of this which we ought to continue to participate in because it’s doing good work on polio or whatever it may be, but then let’s make sure that when the next risk arises, when the next risk from a pandemic arises, we need an institution that’s going to deliver good outcomes for the American people.

QUESTION:  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you so much for joining us live on New Hampshire Today.  Love to get you back again soon.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’d be happy to do it.  Thank you.  Have a great day, sir.

 

U.S. Department of State

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