President Donald Trump seems to be buying into the conspiracy theory alleging that the COVID-19 virus came from a lab in Wuhan, China, and members of his administration are helping him peddle the claim.
On Friday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla that there are “a lot of theories” and “discussions” on the origins of the virus.
“The President has his views on this,” the adviser said. “Those views are being developed by the help of our intelligence people and others.”
Kudlow then swiped at the “lack of Chinese transparency and cooperation in pursuing investigations to get to the bottom of this.”
“So that is an open discussion, an ongoing discussion,” he said.
During a press briefing on Thursday, Trump cast doubt on the theory that COVID-19 was transmitted from a bat and said he has scientists looking at the origins of the virus “very very strongly.”
“What gives you a high degree of confidence that this originated from the lab?” asked Fox News correspondent John Roberts.
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” Trump replied.
The President frequently tries to shift the attention away his disastrous response to COVID-19 outbreak by hammering on China’s role in the pandemic. Trump’s deflection efforts have culminated in him ordering an intelligence investigation into the matter.
As such, right-wingers have been floating the conspiracy theory that the virus was engineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, then escaped from the facility and caused the pandemic. One version of the theory even accuses the lab of deliberately letting the disease loose out into the world.
The Trump administration took one step toward embracing the conspiracy theory last week when it pulled funding for an American scientific study on bat-to-human disease transmission after Trump’s allies peddled an unproven rumor that the lab running the study was sending the funds to the Wuhan lab.
Watch Kudlow below:
Larry Kudlow on whether Trump believes COVID-19 came from a Chinese lab: "The President has his views on this." pic.twitter.com/ebYnk0YprV
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) May 1, 2020