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At G7, Pompeo's Insistence on 'Wuhan Virus' Caused Rift

Newser — Evann Gastaldo

The Trump administration has been controversially referring to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus," and three officials from G7 countries tell the Washington Post that Mike Pompeo's insistence on using the term "Wuhan virus" led to a rift at Wednesday's Group of Seven meeting, which was held via video conference.

Per ABC News, foreign ministers were planning to issue a joint declaration on the virus, but Pompeo insisted the term "Wuhan virus," which has been decried by world leaders and health organizations, be included.

Because of that, the ministers failed to agree on a joint statement, and no statement specifically referencing the pandemic was issued. Meanwhile, the president himself has stopped calling it the "Chinese virus" because, he says, "Everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn't make any more of a big deal out of it."

"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," Pompeo said at the meeting.

"The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated." After the meeting, Pompeo downplayed the role of the term in the group's discussions, saying there were simply "tactical differences" in how ministers wanted to approach the situation.

"Make no mistake about it," he said, per Fox News, "everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well."

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