© Reuters. Former United States President Donald Trump points to the media while speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention Dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, United States, on June 5, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Drake
By Makini Brice
GREENVILLE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump harshly attacked US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Saturday for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, demanded reparations from China and denounced an investigation into its finances in a speech in North Carolina.
Speaking in Greenville, North Carolina, at the Republican Party state convention, Trump joined a chorus of Republican politicians who criticize Fauci for asking Americans to wear masks to protect against the virus and who has at times been skeptical. faced with the theory that the virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
Trump called Fauci “not a great doctor but a great promoter” for his frequent television appearances. “But he has been wrong on almost every issue and also in Wuhan and in the lab,” Trump said.
The origin of the virus remains highly controversial and is still being studied by US intelligence agencies.
Trump’s own handling of the pandemic, in which nearly 600,000 people in the United States have died and he became infected himself, was a factor in his defeat to Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2020 election.
Trump asked China to pay $ 10 trillion in reparations to the United States and the world for its own handling of the virus, and said nations should cancel their debt to Beijing.
Trump’s appearance had all the hallmarks of his exclusive campaign rallies with a music playlist that was based on Elton John’s standards.
North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley introduced Trump as “our president,” a nod to the former president’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through electoral fraud, which Trump called “the crime. of the century”.
Trump called a criminal investigation launched by the New York attorney general’s office “the latest fishing expedition” and said it was the latest attempt by Democrats to bring him down after two sagas of impeachment when he was president.
“It’s been a five-year witch hunt, one hoax after another,” Trump said. “They will never stop until November 2024.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to guarantee loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.
Trump promised to help Republicans in the 2022 congressional elections and endorsed US Representative Ted Budd for a US Senate seat in North Carolina after his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, said she would not run.
He appeared to have a possible bid for the presidency in 2024, saying he was looking forward to that year. Aides say Trump, who is facing a possible prosecution in New York for his dealings, has been discussing the possibility of another presidential campaign.
Trump came out of seclusion for Saturday’s event, the first in a planned series of conferences for this summer.
“America’s survival depends on our ability to elect Republicans at all levels, beginning with next year’s midterm elections,” Trump said.
Lara Trump announced on stage that she had considered running for the North Carolina Senate seat, but chose not to run in 2022 to care for her young children. But he did not rule out a career in the future.