President Donald Trump said there was significant evidence that coronavirus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China earlier this month — but Trump now appears to be downplaying the lab theory.
Both Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed the lab idea, with Pompeo claiming that there was “enormous evidence” that the virus came from a lab.
Trump also repeated the Wuhan lab claim in a Fox News town hall, saying that there is “very conclusive” evidence that the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But in an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo that aired Sunday, he appeared to downplay it, refusing to provide any information and saying that it could have come from bats too.
“Secretary Pompeo said that he had strong evidence that it did come from the virology lab. We’ve been reporting this every Sunday by the way, from early on. You also said that you saw evidence,” Bartiromo said.
“Can you tell us anything about the intelligence?”
“No. No,” Trump said. “But we have a lot of information, and it’s not good.”
“But you know the worst of all, whether it came from the lab or came from the bats, it all came from China, and they should have stopped it,” he continued. “They could have stopped it at that source. I call it the source. Right there, it should have been stopped.”
“They made a decision to allow it to escape its borders?” Bartiromo asked.
“I don’t know if they made the decision, but it got out of control. I think more likely it got out of control,” Trump said.
Multiple researchers have thrown cold water on the lab origin. Dr. Anthony Fauci has been highly skeptical of the idea that the virus came from a lab, saying that he is “very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”
“Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,” Fauci said earlier this month.
Jonna Mazet, an American researcher who worked at the lab in Wuhan at the center of these claims, cross-referenced the genetic information of the coronaviruses she worked with and determined that they didn’t match COVID-19. (RELATED: China Poised To Buy Up Texas Oil Amid Coronavirus Slump)