Now that President Trump has been forced to acknowledge reality, he has made a rhetorical pivot in order to make it seem as though he has been the one who was tough on China all along. This “tough on China” pivot is premised mainly on his willingness to troll the CCP by calling it the “China Virus,” something he began on March 16th after a month of calling it the “coronavirus.”

But if you look at what President Trump actually told the public about China—and consider reports about how he handled the virus internally—you understand that this “China Virus” pivot comes from a place of extreme weakness and vulnerability. Because for two critical months as the crisis unfolded, nobody was a bigger Xi-leader than Donald J. Trump.

These months of Trump sucking up to Xi and toeing the CCP party line are critical because China is on the hook for COVID-19 and should be held fully accountable. For reasons that are as inexplicable today as they were in January, the American president took the word of an authoritarian regime that cannot, and should not, be trusted to operate in good faith.