A combination photo of US President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden squaring off during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29.(AFP)
A combination photo of US President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden squaring off during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29.(AFP)

Trump drags India into US presidential debate, twice

The US president brought up India in an exchange with Joe Biden over Covid-19 toll figures and climate change.
Hindustan Times, Washington | By Yashwant Raj
UPDATED ON SEP 30, 2020 02:33 PM IST

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged India, Russia and China might not be reporting correct Covid-19 toll figures as he sought to defend his own handling of the public health crisis at his first debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The president also brought up the three countries in an exchange with Biden over climate change, saying India, Russia and China “send up real dirt into the air”.

Trump has frequently brought up Covid-19 testing in India to claim the United States was doing a far better job of it, and attributing more testing to the higher toll. And he had previously alleged China was concealing the true magnitude of its Covid-19 crisis. But this was probably the first time he had alleged under-reporting by India.

“You don’t know how many died in China. You don’t know how many people died in Russia. You don’t know how many people died in India,” he said, adding, “They don’t exactly give a straight count, just so you understand.”

Watch | US Presidential Debate 2020: Trump-Biden faceoff over Covid-19 turns nasty

Of the more than 1 million killed worldwide by the pandemic, over 200,000 were in the United States, 97,497 in India, 20,456 in Russia and 4,739 in China, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker.

Questions have been raised before about China’s figures that seemed to be dramatically low for a country where the epidemic started last December. It has serious credibility issues in this regard also because it did not tell the world early enough that the virus can have human-to-humsn transmission and that it can be transmitted by asymptomatic people.

Trump has attacked India and China before in the context of climate change. In fact, he pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord falsely claiming it gave India and China a sweeter deal. He has repeated that claim several times since, always without any proof or truth.

“China sends up real dirt into the air, Russia does, India does, they all do,” Trump said, adding, “Were supposed to be good.”

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