Trump on Wuhan lab: Now everyone agrees ‘I was right’
Former President Trump on Tuesday claimed vindication for his assertion that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, and defended using the term “Chinese virus,” which has been criticized as racist and blamed in part for a spike in violence against Asian Americans.
“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 in a statement.
Top U.S. public health officials and experts are increasingly lending credibility to the need for a deeper investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, but so far there is no definitive proof the virus leaked from a lab.
Experts and officials have also noted that even if the virus escaped from a lab, that doesn’t mean it was manufactured in one.
Still, Trump and other Republicans in Congress are declaring victory and have been pressing Democrats to open an investigation.
“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!” Trump added.
Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were some of the first people to blame a lab leak for the introduction of the virus.
Throughout much of April and into May of 2020, both leaned into the notion that the virus came from Chinese lab, with Trump doubling and tripling down on anti-Chinese rhetoric. Trump even contradicted an on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community when he said at a news conference he had a “high degree of confidence” that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab.
However, neither Trump nor Pompeo ultimately produced any evidence.
The World Health Organization last February urged people to avoid terms like the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus,” fearing it could spike a backlash against Asians.
Trump never followed that advice though, and researchers have found his tweets led to an increase in anti-Asian backlash. Last week, he was sued by a civil rights group for calling COVID-19 the “China virus.”
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