Former President Trump is calling for China to face “retribution” for its role in the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that he was right all along about the virus leaking out of a Wuhan lab.
In a campaign video released Friday, the former president and declared candidate for the White House in 2024 took credit for being right about the lab-leak theory after the U.S. Department of Energy concluded with “low confidence” that it was the most likely explanation for where the virus came from.
“Three years ago, I declared that the China virus almost certainly came from the Wuhan lab. Now, the world is finally admitting the truth then — they’re saying I was right,” Trump says. “The coverup of COVID-19’s origins is one of the greatest scandals in the history of the world. The greatest scandal is COVID itself, however.”
The GOP 2024 front-runner said it’s time “to hold China and the corrupt forces who have facilitated this colossal suppression of facts accountable for the damage they have inflicted upon the world and all humanity. We have to do something about it. There has to be some form of retribution.”
Republicans are calling for China to answer for its conduct during the pandemic as critics have accused the Chinese regime of “stonewalling” efforts to investigate the origins of the virus.
At a House hearing last week, Dr. Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, asked U.S. lawmakers to launch a full inquiry into the matter.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, China’s government has destroyed samples, hidden records, imprisoned brave Chinese journalists, gagged Chinese scientists, actively spread misinformation and done pretty much everything possible to prevent the kind of unfettered, evidence-based investigation that is so urgently required,” Metzl said.
Democrats have shown interest in getting to the bottom of COVID-19 as well, though they are much more hesitant to embrace the lab-leak theory. Both the House and Senate unanimously passed legislation to require the Biden administration’s director of national intelligence to declassify all intelligence related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and possible links to the origins of the COVID-19 virus.
Those votes came after the Energy Department’s assessment was reportedly noted in a classified 2021 document that was updated by Director of National intelligence Avril Haines’ office.
The “lab-leak theory,” according to which COVID-19 came from an accidental lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, was widely dismissed as a conspiracy theory and “misinformation” by Democrats, major news outlets, scientists and social media companies in the early stages of the pandemic.
However, without conclusive proof of a natural origin for the virus, the theory has slowly gained mainstream credibility.
Trump did not specify how he would hold China accountable if he were to become president again. He simply said, “Something has to be done, and it will be done.”
Fox News’ Peter Kasperowicz and Aaron Kliegman contributed to this report.