Republicans are demanding that action be taken against China following the apparent confirmation by the U.S. Department of Energy that COVID-19 leaked from a communist Chinese lab.
What’s the background?
Numerous Republicans have long maintained that millions of Americans and tens of millions of people worldwide had their lives cut short on account of the virus that escaped from a Chinese Communist Party-controlled lab in Wuhan.
Former President Donald Trump intimated in spring 2020 that he had seen evidence that gave him a high degree of confidence that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, adding, “Certainly it could have been stopped.”
Trump also lambasted the World Health Organization for suggesting a zoonotic origin, stating, “I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves, because they’re like the public relations agency for China. … They shouldn’t be making excuses when people make horrible mistakes, especially mistakes that are causing hundreds of thousands of people around the world to die.”
Like Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo caught heat from the liberal media for suggesting in May 2020 that there was “enormous evidence” supporting the lab-leak theory.
In a Jan. 30, 2020, tweet, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) noted that the WIV “works with the world’s most deadly pathogens,” including the coronavirus, and suggested again a lab-leak origin for the pandemic.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and other Republicans on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions released a report in October detailing the untenability of the claim of natural origins and suggesting that the “COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.”
In their December “Second Interim Report on the Origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” House Republicans on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence noted on the basis of both classified and previously glossed-over declassified intelligence that “there are indications that SARS-CoV-2 may have been tied to China’s biological weapons research program and spilled over to the human population during a lab-related incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).”
Contrariwise, the media and elements of the Democratic establishment supported the Beijing-favored zoonotic-origins theory, holding that the lab-leak theory was baseless and denouncing those who entertained it as conspiracy theorists.
The New York Times and the Washington Post were among those outfits that called the claim that COVID-19 came from the WIV a “fringe theory.”
Holding communists culpable
The DOE recently joined the FBI in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at the WIV.
In 2021, the FBI determined with “moderate confidence” that the pandemic was likely the result of a lab leak. The bureau still holds to this view, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Republicans who suspected the coronavirus lab that performed gain-of-function experiments at the epicenter of a coronavirus pandemic may have been responsible are now calling for action.
Cotton tweeted Sunday, “Re. China’s lab leak, being proven right doesn’t matter. What matters is holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable so this doesn’t happen again.”
CBS News previously denounced Cotton as a conspiracy theorist, suggesting the lab-leak theory was “absolutely crazy.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mocked Glenn Kessler, editor of the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” with clown emojis for his May 2020 tweet claiming it was “virtually impossible for this virus jump from the lab”:
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) shared the Wall Street Journal’s report on the DOE’s recent confirmation, writing, “For years, Anthony Fauci and Biden officials called this a conspiracy.”
Former NIAID Director Anthony Fauci long claimed that the virus occurred naturally. He repeatedly dismissed the lab-leak theory, calling it a “circular argument.”
TheBlaze previously reported that Fauci was also part of an concerted effort to downplay the possibility that COVID-19 originated in a lab and to instead bolster then-unsubstantiated claims that the virus had naturally made the trans-species jump to humans.
Unredacted emails from 2020 obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Guardian reporter Jimmy Tobias revealed great anxiety and uncertainty among Fauci and other virologists.
Despite recognizing that the virus’ furin cleavage sites were not naturally occurring — suggestive of human intervention and a lab origin — Fauci told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in March 2020 the virus had jumped from an animal to a human. In May 2020, he told National Geographic there was “no scientific evidence” to suggest the virus had come from the Wuhan lab.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted, “Once again… Conspiracy theorists – 100 Media – 0.”
Pompeo tweeted, “There was always enormous evidence that the Wuhan coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab. I’m glad the Department of Energy recognizes this reality. It’s past time to make the CCP pay.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted, “The left spent the past 2yrs trying to censor the truth & cover up for Communist China, but the facts are undeniable. The CCP is evil. Its virus killed millions & Xi will stop at nothing to destroy the U.S. It’s time to hold this evil regime accountable.”
The Hill reported that Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” calling for “extensive” public hearings about the origins in Congress.
Sullivan said of China, “Look, this is a country that has no problem coming out and lying to the world. … I think that we need to make sure every country knows that, and then look at what the consequences could be.”
In addition to hearings during which the possibility of action will be discussed, there is a bill presently in the House aimed at holding the CCP responsible.
TheBlaze noted that if passed in the Republican-controlled House, Texas Republican Rep. Troy Nehls’ “China Lied, People Died” Act (H.R.566) would “prohibit the availability of Federal funds for programs, projects, or activities in the People’s Republic of China until amounts made available for COVID-19 relief in the United States have been reimbursed, and for other purposes.”
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