President Donald Trump said Friday he will end federal funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology that some are claiming spawned the coronavirus.
At the daily coronavirus task force news conference, the president was asked why the National Institutes of Health would include the Chinese laboratory in a $3.7 million dollar stipend to conduct research.
“The Obama administration gave them a grant of $3.7 million. I’ve been hearing about that. We’ve instructed that if any grants are going to that area, we are looking at it literally about an hour ago and also early in the morning,” Trump said. (RELATED: Tucker Carlson: ‘China Continues To Threaten The Rest Of Us With Wet Markets’)
“We will end the grant very quickly. It was granted quite a while ago. They were granted a substantial amount of money. We are going to look at it and take a look. But I understand it was a number of years ago. When did you hear the grant was made?”
The reporter informed the president that the funding was from 2015.
Trump noted the date and asked, “2015. Who was president then? I wonder.”
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz raised the issue of the funding earlier this week during an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“I’m against funding Chinese research in our country, but I’m sure against funding it in China. The NIH gives this $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, they then advertise that they need coronavirus researchers and following that coronavirus erupts in Wuhan,” Gaetz explained. (RELATED: ‘Stop Eating Bats!’ Lindsey Graham Blasts Wet Markets, Calls on China’s President To ‘Crack Down’)
On Friday, Gaetz tweeted his gratitude to Trump and Health Secretary Alex Azar: “Thank you President @realDonaldTrump and @SecAzar for committing to end this America Last grant given to labs in Wuhan by the Obama Administration!”
“The Obama administration gave them a grant of $3.7 million…we will end that grant very quickly.”
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) April 18, 2020
Reports claiming that the COVID-19 virus originated in the Wuhan lab and was released to the local community have gained traction in the last week.