Lindsey Graham: Dismissal of Wuhan lab leak theory cost Trump 2020 election

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is arguing that the dismissal of a theory that former President Trump and his allies pushed suggesting the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, “played a prominent role” in his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

“There is no doubt in my mind the combination of prominent scientists coming out strongly against the lab leak theory, along with officials from the State Department shutting down additional inquiries, ended up being two of the most consequential events in the 2020 election cycle,” Graham wrote in an op-ed published on on Thursday. “Had they given credence to this charge, the whole tenor, tone and focus of the 2020 election would have turned on a dime.”

Republicans in recent weeks have renewed calls for an investigation into the theory that the origins of the virus are linked to a lab in the city of Wuhan, an assertion that was dismissed by the scientific community during the early days of the pandemic.

Some top public health officials, including White House medical adviser and top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, have said they now believe it is possible the virus could have originated in a lab.

“Many of us feel that it is more likely this is a natural occurrence, but we don’t know 100 percent the answer to that,” Fauci said late last month. “Because we don’t know 100 percent what the origin is, it’s imperative that we look and we do an investigation.”

Trump seized on the news, saying the statements from public health officials giving potential credence to claims of the virus originating in a lab validates him.

“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. “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!”

Graham, a supporter of Trump who has repeatedly blamed China for the global pandemic, is among leading Republicans pressuring President Biden’s administration and the State Department to find out what the Chinese government knew about the pandemic and when.

If the so-called lab leak theory would have been embraced by the scientific community and media last year, Graham argued, the conversation about the origins of the pandemic would have dominated the presidential cycle.

“Americans would have demanded a tougher line against the Chinese communist regime and would have been looking for a commander in chief to lead the charge. There is no doubt in my mind this would have benefitted President Trump much more than Joe Biden,” Graham wrote.

“However, instead of validating President Trump’s concerns, the scientists’ early dismissal created a narrative that President Trump was out of touch and spreading right-wing conspiracy theories. It was a narrative that the elite media, who hated President Trump with a burning passion, was only too happy to help spread.”

As Republicans press on with investigations and public pressure, the White House has said they believe the World Health Organization should take the lead on investigating the origins of the pandemic.

“We don’t know all the answers, but the more we learn about the early days of the pandemic, the more questions are raised. Some of the scientists who initially said it was a lab leak think the origins of COVID-19 need to be revisited and further investigation is warranted. I agree,” Graham concluded. “With more than 600,000 Americans and over 3.7 million people around the globe already dead due to COVID-19, we deserve answers.”

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Presidency of the United States Presidents of the United States White House coronavirus task force

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