Former President Donald Trump trolled mainstream media critics following their sudden turnabout embracing the Wuhan lab-leak theory after they aggressively dismissed it as a “fringe” and a “debunked” claim, saying in an interview Tuesday night that “it was obvious to smart people” the coronavirus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab.
“Well, I said it right at the beginning of this where it came from. I think it was obvious to smart people; that’s where it came from. I have no doubt about it,” Trump told Newsmax host and former Trump 2020 campaign adviser Steve Cortes. “I was criticized by the press because China has a lot of people taken care of. They took care of Hunter [Biden]. They took care of Joe. They took care of everybody, didn’t they? And people didn’t want to say China. Usually, they blame it on Russia. It’s always Russia, Russia, Russia, but I said right at the beginning it came out of Wuhan.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump took a victory lap of sorts by releasing a statement saying he “was right” from the start to pin “Wuhan as the source of COVID-19” after Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to undertake a “transparent, science-based” investigation of the origins of the virus.
“Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus,” Trump said in an emailed statement from his Save America Pac. “To me, it was obvious from the beginning, but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying, ‘He was right.’ Thank you!”
Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers working at the Wuhan lab would fall ill with symptoms “consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness” back in November 2019. The lab leak theory that suggested the coronavirus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was first dismissed as a conspiracy theory by the mainstream media is now gaining traction in recent weeks following a widely-criticized WHO probe controlled by China who recommended that the virus could have been imported into Wuhan from other countries.
Trump asserted the lab leak claim as early as last April of 2020 when he told reporters that he was confident the coronavirus might have originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, adding that he had seen evidence that gave him a “high degree of confidence” but declined to give specifics.
“I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China,” Trump said at a press briefing on April 30, 2020.
“But we’re going to find out. You’ll be learning in the not-too-distant future. But it’s a terrible thing that happened — whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one. Or did somebody do something on purpose?” Trump added.
As president, Trump didn’t endorse the lab leak theory but said it was a possibility. In an exclusive interview with the New York Post last year, Trump faulted China for “failing to halt the spread of the coronavirus,” saying that he is “aware of spy agency efforts to determine if a lab in Wuhan, China, released the virus.”
“Well, I know of the intelligence. And they report to me,” Trump said in an interview with the New York Post last year. “Bad things happened, let’s face it, bad things happened. They didn’t do it on purpose. But it got out. It got out of that area, and it shouldn’t have. It shouldn’t have been allowed to have gotten out because it got out and went all over the world. So that shouldn’t have taken place, and [China] should have never allowed it to happen.”
Days later, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would also reiterate Trump’s comment, stating a “significant amount of evidence” proving that the virus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan. In the interview with ABC News “This Week” last May, Pompeo noted that after the first cases were reported in Wuhan in December of 2019, Beijing would begin a “disinformation” campaign that “created enormous risk” around the world.
At the same time, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the validity of both Trump and Pompeo claims, saying in an interview with National Geographic shortly after that he “doesn’t entertain an alternative theory — that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped.”
But a year later, after wholeheartedly discrediting the Trump administration’s claims, Fauci, known for his continuously flip-flopping and being wrong on just about everything regarding the Coronavirus, is now insisting that he is “not convinced” the virus developed naturally.
“No. I’m not convinced about that. I think that we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we find out to the best of our ability exactly what happened,” Fauci said to PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders last week when asked if he was “still confident that it developed naturally.”
After a joint WHO-China panel investigating the origins of the pandemic in Wuhan said the lab leak theory was “extremely unlikely,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesu just days later did a “screeching U-turn on the lab leak theory” the organization dismissed when coming forward in saying that “all hypothesis remain open and require further study,” including the lab leak theory.
Despite the media’s about-face and many experts giving credence to the theory, the Biden administration refused to pressure China’s authoritarian government to be transparent. During Tuesday’s daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that it is WHO that would be the entity to investigate pandemic origins with China deciding on whether to be transparent.