White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on Sunday compared China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak to the Soviet response to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
“This was a virus that was unleashed by China. There was a coverup that someday they’re going to do an HBO show like they did with Chernobyl on this virus,” O’Brien said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, referencing the 2019 miniseries dramatizing the 1986 explosion of a reactor at the Soviet nuclear power plant and the bureaucratic response.
Asked by host Margaret Brennan whether he was accusing the Chinese government as a whole or local officials of a coverup, O’Brien responded “We don’t know, because they kicked out all reporters and they wouldn’t let [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] investigators come in and they’re still stonewalling investigators.”
“It doesn’t matter if it was local officials or the Chinese Communist Party, it was a coverup and we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually,” he added.
If China develops a vaccine for the U.S., would it be made available to the American public?— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 24, 2020
Robert O'Brien: "I think we're going to develop a vaccine first" but notes he "wouldn't be surprised" if China stole U.S. intellectual property associated with vaccine development. pic.twitter.com/4gsfxI1PO6
In the same interview, Brennan asked O’Brien if, should the Chinese develop a vaccine for the virus, it would be made available to Americans.
“I think we’re going to develop a vaccine first,” O’Brien said, but added “there’s a chance, and it’s been reported, that the Chinese have been engaged in espionage to try to find the research and the technologies that we’re working on both for a vaccine and a therapy … they’ve got a many-year history of stealing American intellectual property and knocking off American technology and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that with the vaccines.”