Pompeo implicitly admits that he and Trump lied about China

On May 2, I called out Trump for lying when he claimed there was a lot of evidence that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab. (I’m not saying that’s impossible, just that the evidence does not currently exist.)

On May 6th, Pompeo basically admitted that he and Trump were lying. It is not true that there is lots of evidence suggesting the virus escaped from a lab. Indeed, he has now “eased off” those claims:

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo again ratcheted up his criticism of China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, asserting that it covered up the origins of the virus even as he eased off earlier claims of “enormous evidence” that the virus escaped from a laboratory there. . . .

That’s made the top U.S. diplomat a target of Chinese ire, with officials there calling him “evil” and a “liar.”

The Chinese are right, Pompeo is an evil liar.

Yet on Wednesday, Pompeo brought up the Wuhan lab only when asked and wasn’t nearly so definitive, saying, “The intelligence community’s still figuring out precisely where this virus began.” Pressed later, he denied there was any inconsistency between his statements.

“We’re all trying to figure out the right answer,” he said. “There are different levels of certainty expressed at different sources.”

Trying to figure out? Different levels of certainty? Wait, what happened to this “enormous evidence”? Where is it Michael? Where’s your enormous evidence? I’m anxious to see it. Did it get misplaced somewhere in the State Department lost and found department?

Trump’s lies are so transparent that anyone with the intellectual capacity of an eight grader can see right through him.

This administration will stop at nothing to create a new cold war with China



18 Responses to “Pompeo implicitly admits that he and Trump lied about China”

  1. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    10. May 2020 at 09:56


    Have you also caught how the administration has implicitly admitted that the trade deal with China was also mostly made up?

    I’m not sure Trump wants a cold war with China, though members of his administration like Navarro do. I think he’s too stupid and impatient to have any strategic goals at all, even stupid ones. He’s all transactional, and all about the moment. Prior deals or how people have treated him over the bulk of time, or even in the last transaction, are meaningless if his needs vis-a-vis that party change in the moment.

    Trump was being disgustingly deferral to Beijing before this crisis really hit home, because he wanted to preserve the illusion of a trade deal during an election year. Now, it’s more important he have a scapegoat, which is easier for his base to swallow if it’s a group of non-white people.

  2. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    10. May 2020 at 09:58

    I meant to use the word “deferential”, not “deferral”, above.

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. May 2020 at 11:05

    Michael, Yes, I did a post over at Econlog about how Trump planned to use China as a scapegoat for his own failings:


  4. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    10. May 2020 at 11:22


    Yes, and if I recall correctly, you did at least one post last year in which you said the trade deal with China was largely fiction. The Trump administration has emphatically confirmed that’s true, especially this year.

  5. Gravatar of Gene Frenkle Gene Frenkle
    10. May 2020 at 11:51

    If I were Pompeo I would have a staffer researching de-Stalinization. So as a society how are we going to deal with public servants like Barr and Pompeo who are clearly rationalizing service to an office (and not a particular president) as being in our country’s best interests? So in order for our country to function we need competent cabinet secretaries but most competent candidates would not want to serve in this administration. So because Barr is older the calculus is easier for him but Pompeo would be a logical candidate for a cabinet secretary in any Republican administration.

  6. Gravatar of Richard A. Richard A.
    10. May 2020 at 15:14

    Pompeo-“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment”

  7. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    10. May 2020 at 17:00


    So the CCP has thrown a blogger and journalist into prison. Chen Jieren, in for 15 years.

    As far as I can tell, some Western media covered the Chen imprisoning, but only the Bangkok Post has condemned it in the form of an editorial.

    The Bangkok Post? That’s it?

    “Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in its most recent 2020 World Press Freedom Index, ranked China 177th out of 180.”

    Greater trade with China is coupled with shrinking freedoms there. Why?

    Pompeo? Trump? Scott Sumner can rail to the high heavens about the shabby PR of the Trump Administration. Which does nothing to dispel sensible suspicions a Wuhan lab leak caused a global pandemic. And Sumner is not fearful of imprisonment for his blogging, I am happy to say.

    Trump and Pompeo look like Laurel and Hardy next to President Xi’s Ming the Merciless.

  8. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    10. May 2020 at 18:43

    @Ben Cole:

    Well that’s sort of the problem isn’t it? Trump is a clown playing in a big boy game.

  9. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    10. May 2020 at 20:44


    If you subtract out Trump’s character or lack of it, he has some positives and negatives.

    BTW, LBJ-NiXon had worse personalities, dropped Agent Orange on Viet farmers, had 40,000 Viet civvies executed through Operation Phoenix, and left behind hundreds of millions of cluster bombs in Laos, and authorized burglaries in the US. Several million SE Asians were killed.

    Nixon implemented wage and price controls and put a 10% tariff on all imports, in the Nixon Shock.

    Trump? He is one cut below a carnival barker or park wino, and only slightly better than establishment GOP’ers and Donks.

    The real question is, who is in charge of foreign policy re China? Trump, or the globalist-multinationals, such as Apple, GM, BlackRock, Microsoft, Wal-Mart? The multinationals are probably readying a hagiography of Neville Chamberlain, as a prelude to “The Greatness of Xi,” a multi-part series.

    Actually, I am a pacifist, and prefer US de-globalize its military. But we can live without trading with the CCP.

    We have seen how globalists deal with the CCP: By enabling.

  10. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    11. May 2020 at 05:19

    China never lies. Why would an authoritarian government lie? Only Trump and his running dogs lie. Nothing could be more obvious. Comey never lies. Schiff never lies. And Xi never lies. Xi is trustworthy—-well, not about Muslims—-but certainly about Covid 19. How could he possibly lie? They are heroic and brilliant—-what else could explain the sudden decline to zero of Covid 19 cases? Trump never makes mistakes—-he just lies. Xi might make mistakes but he never lies. Well, he probably lies a little here and there but it has not been proven that he lied about two labs in Wuhan——so when Pompeo takes bad intel as truth it is evidence of certain lying—-otherwise why walk it back?

    But for sure there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that China lies about the virus—-they have been geniuses at stopping the spread. How can anyone imagine they lie?

  11. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    11. May 2020 at 05:36

    China has been up to a fair amount of duplicity and mischief in this case, and they should be held to account for their behavior, but it doesn’t matter to how the virus played out here, because we didn’t lock down in February and never would have under any conceivable scenario.

    If you go back to February, the virus barely registered in the national consciousness. Politicians were routinely filling 20,000 seat halls, and only the politically incorrect (e.g. Bannon, Cernovich) were predicting a catastrophe. In retrospect, we were never gonna do whatever needed to be done until it was too late, and no politician could have changed that.

    So, on to plan B. Which reminds me, what do you think of Lars’ optimism?

  12. Gravatar of AMT AMT
    11. May 2020 at 05:47

    Typo in the second last paragraph: it should say “anyone with the intellectual capacity of an eight YEAR-OLD can see right through him.”

  13. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    11. May 2020 at 09:00

    @Ben Cole:

    You didn’t address my point. Trump is completely out of his depth dealing with formidable leaders around the world. You said it yourself, it’s Laurel and Hardy vs Ming the Merciless. I didn’t say anything about multinationals or Nixon.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. May 2020 at 11:19

    Michael, Are you off your meds again?

  15. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    11. May 2020 at 19:49


    OK, to answer your question, if you are still reading:

    I am not sure having the ogre Trump is better or worse than having an establishment figure in the job, such as a Hillary Clinton or George Bush. I suspect Trump is slightly better at the job.

    It is a huge question of course, and “better for who?” comes to mind.

    I wish I knew of a path forward for democracy and human rights in mainland China. The US globalist class thinks enabling the CCP is the right path. Eventually the CCP will get better is the reasoning, and the multinationals make money in Q1 or Q2, which is what counts.

    Is Trump better or worse than this Clinton-Bush global-corporatist approach?

    I don’t know, but probably.

    I see the Aussies are re-evaluating the CCP, and not positively. Gutsy country.

  16. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    11. May 2020 at 20:00

    @Ben Cole: I care far less about how good or bad Trump is standing up for democracy in China than I do knowing how bad he is for democracy and many other things in the US.

    But thankfully I also know that presidents don’t matter too terribly much, and if they avoid major blunders like the Iraq War (which to Trump’s credit he has done) it’s not the end of the world. Trump is awful, but we have survived tougher times.

  17. Gravatar of Jason Jason
    12. May 2020 at 13:30

    ”This administration will stop at nothing to create a new cold war with China”
    China’s been waging a Cold War in us from the very beginning.

  18. Gravatar of John John
    14. May 2020 at 21:36

    You must have read about the genetic evidence and the phoniness of the initial Nature paper and the study on cell usage data. If the real story doesn’t eventually break through I’d be pretty surprised. But who knows, maybe I’m wrong.

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