Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that there is “enormous evidence” to indicate Covid-19 originated in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“We have said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China,” Pompeo said in the interview on ABC’s This Week. “We took a lot of grief for that at the outset, but I think the whole world can see now. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we have had the world exposed to viruses that are a result of failures in a Chinese lab… I can tell you that there’s a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
Pompeo subsequently said he believed the virus was man-made — but immediately backtracked on that assertion. “The best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve it at that point,” he said initially.
Anchor Martha Raddatz pointed out, “Your office of the [Director of National Intelligence] says the … scientific consensus is, not manmade or genetically modified.” Pompeo replied, “That’s right. I agree with that. I have seen their analysis. I have seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly, I have no reason to doubt to that that is accurate.”
Raddatz, seeking to clarify whether Pompeo misspoke, said, “Just to be clear, you do not think it was man-made or genetically modified?”
Pompeo declined to acknowledge the discrepancy but reiterated that the U.S. would seek to hold China accountable: “I’ve seen what the intelligence community said. I have no reason to believe they got it wrong.”
He added, “President Trump is very clear. We’ll hold those responsible accountable and we’ll do so on a timeline that is our own.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in an April 30 statement that it concurred with what it described as “the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” but did not weigh in on whether the virus escaped from the lab. It said the intelligence community would “continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident.”
Watch above via ABC News.
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