Mike Pompeo Says Iranians and Chinese Will ‘Hold Their Leaders Responsible’ for Coronavirus Failings

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has fired a fresh broadside at America’s rivals over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting citizens will ultimately hold their leaders responsible for failures that have put thousands at risk.

Speaking with radio host Tony Perkins of the conservative Washington Watch show on Tuesday, Pompeo accused Chinese and Iranian officials of endangering lives by trying to hide the severity of the coronavirus outbreak and dodging responsibility for their own failings.

Testy U.S. relations with China and Iran have deteriorated further amid the pandemic. President Donald Trump, Pompeo and others have termed the sickness the “Chinese Virus” or “Wuhan Virus,” despite protests from Beijing and warnings that such rhetoric could inflame racist sentiment in the U.S.

The administration has also refused to ease sanctions on Iran despite the disastrous coronavirus impact there.

Chinese and Iranian officials have been accused of covering up the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in their nations. They have also engaged in conspiracy theories and spread disinformation suggesting that the U.S. was to blame for the pandemic.

“The people most harmed by the absence of transparency and good governance are the people of their own country,” Pompeo said of China and Iran.

“I think the people in those countries know this,” he added. “I think the people in those countries will ultimately hold their leaders responsible for this. And I think this, too, is why this disinformation campaign is taking place. They want to try and deflect responsibility from the poor decisions that those leaders undertook.”