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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed in an interview Tuesday that COVID-19 became a global pandemic as a direct result of China’s decision to manipulate and withhold critical data related to the virus.

“We know this is a global pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China, but we also know that China was too late in providing important information about human to human spread of the virus,” Pompeo told WIBC host Tony Katz. “Information didn’t get to the relevant people that could have made decisions earlier, and that caused the entire world to be on its back foot at a time when it needed to be moving forward and [addressing the spread of the virus] aggressively.”

Secretary Pompeo said those responsible for the severity of the pandemic will be held to account, adding that the State Department is actively working counter propaganda and disinformation campaigns from China and the World Health Organization.

“We’ve responded very vigorously and aggressively to members of the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership as well as the World Health Organization,” said Pompeo. “When you withhold critical data, kick journalists out of your country, and make decisions like the Chinese government did yesterday to not publish as much information about what really happened, we respond definitely and aggressively.”

He continued: “In the immediate term, we need to do everything possible to keep the American people safe, aggressively combat the spread of the virus and get patients, first responders, and hospital workers the critical support and supplies they need. Once that’s done, there will be a full investigation of what took place and those who are responsible will be held accountable for the loss of human life and the economic damage that was inflicted on the United States as well.”

Secretary Pompeo added that when it comes to China, it’s a matter of evaluating and paying attention to the actions of the Communist government rather than verbal assurances and media propaganda.

“It’s not about trust, and that applies to other countries as well,” Pompeo told Katz. “It’s not about what they say or what they tell us; it’s a matter of what they do.”

Pompeo also addressed the controversy surrounding Senator Diane Feinstein’s support for sending $5 billion in emergency IMF funding to Iran to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. Click the link below to hear Tony Katz’s full interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)