Trump has repeatedly told advisers that pushing for a harder line against China could backfire because Xi controls the government “totally” and will not work with the United States if it says anything negative about the country, said one of these senior administration officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talks…

Trump’s praise toward Xi has irked some advisers, who say the compliments are unwarranted as the United States is still working to get a team of experts access to data and Chinese sites to study the virus, aid in the response and secure all the needed information…

Although the United States has so far effectively contained the virus, some senior administration officials said there have been tensions within the administration over what information the president should receive, his posture toward China and what message to send to the American public. And several officials said there has been too much focus on evacuating Americans overseas — and too little on what to do if the epidemic spreads within the United States, given the continued growth of the virus…

Trump grew concerned that any stronger action by his administration would hurt the economy, and he has told advisers that he does not want the administration to do or say anything that would further spook the markets. He remains worried that any large-scale outbreak could hurt his reelection bid.