A group of US lawyers is seeking trillions from the Chinese government, accusing Beijing of knowing about a coronavirus outbreak on its soil then covering it up.
The class action lawsuit includes thousands of people from nearly 50 countries and was filed in a Florida court on Friday.
The suit comes as legislators from both US political parties – including some Republicans – have criticised China and said Donald Trump and his administration were not being tough enough on China over the outbreak.
So far, however, Mr Trump and his administration have taken no concrete action against Beijing.
And the president, during a Sunday evening press conference, sent mixed messages about China and its handling of the outbreak.
He both said he is “not happy” and made clear a trade deal his team struck with Chinese President Xi Jinping – which the US leader hopes to follow with a second, more comprehensive, pact – has eased his anger.
“Now, of course, the virus came along, and I’m not happy. I’m not happy. And I let him know I’m not happy,” Mr Trump said of Mr Xi. “So, you know, we had a great relationship with, we had a very bad relationship with China. Then we had a good relationship because we made a great deal.
“But we’re not happy. This is not a good thing that happened. It came out of China, so we’re not, we’re not in a position where we’re going to say much yet,” Mr Trump said.
“But the deal itself is great. The deal is, it’s going to put many, many people to work in our country,” Mr Trump said. “But all of that has to be taken into account when you look at all of the people that are dying in our country, but all over the world, all over the world. People are dying.”