White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave a withering response to a Fox News reporter who wanted President Joe Biden to disprove that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab.
At the press briefing yesterday, Peter Doocey asked Psaki, “Has the White House seen any circumstantial evidence that it did not originate in a lab?” He was referring to the novel coronavirus.
He mentioned a story that has gained traction in rightwing media this week about a statement from some House Republicans that there is “significant circumstantial evidence” that COVID-19 was developed in a lab in Wuhan, China.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) – perhaps best known for suing Twitter because a fictional cow criticized him too much – and fellow Republicans claimed in a report that “the true source of the virus” could have been “dangerous research” conducted in 2017 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where they claim the Chinese military is involved in experiments.
Scientists generally believe that the virus came from bats and possibly exotic animal trade before infecting humans.
Psaki cautioned Doocey about believing conspiracy theories based on “circumstantial evidence” and reminded him that this is a serious topic that has caused many deaths and massive grief in the country.
“Well, I think first I would caution you against disproving a negative there, which is never the responsible approach in our view when it comes to getting to the bottom of the root causes of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States,” she said.
She then gave a more generic answer, saying that the White House believes that there should be a “transparent investigation” and that the Chinese government should be involved.
“We don’t have enough information at this point to make an assessment,” she concluded before moving on.
Doocy: Has the WH seen any circumstantial evidence that it did not originate from a lab?
Psaki: I would caution you against disproving a negative… when it comes to getting to the bottom of the root causes of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the US pic.twitter.com/qYzrAuapKa
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 20, 2021