Admiral Brett Giroir said Thursday that it was “not outrageous” to suggest that the novel coronavirus was engineered in a lab.
Giroir, who served under former President Donald Trump as the coronavirus testing czar, told Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer that he had always been open to the idea that COVID-19 had originated in a lab — and he said that Dr. Anthony Fauci had brushed that theory aside “to be antagonistic to President Trump.” (RELATED: Pelosi’s House Rule Damages Public’s Perception Of Vaccines, Former Member Of Coronavirus Task Force Says)
Hemmer began by asking why Giroir believed that the coronavirus pandemic had most likely begun with a leak from a Wuhan laboratory — and why he hadn’t spoken up about that earlier. (RELATED: ‘Wrap Up Shop And Go Home’: Dan Bongino Torches ‘Talking Head Media Buffoons’ For Bungling Lab Leak Story)
“I did say it a year ago,” Giroir replied. “I was very clear that the only thing we knew was that there were no obvious fingerprints of this virus being engineered. I always kept open and was very public about it that it could have been a lab leak. That was in distinction from Dr. Fauci who argued very convincingly that this was something that evolved in nature. There was no data that showed it evolved in nature and there is still no data that shows that.”
Giroir went on to say that investigations into its origins had taken a backseat as the pandemic raged — largely because the immediate needs such as safe and effective therapeutics and vaccines could be developed without knowing how or where the virus began.
“You gave a note to our producers before the show today and I want to use your words, correct me if I’m wrong here, this is very critical stuff perhaps in the end,” Hemmer pressed. “‘It is not outrageous to hypothesize,’ you say, ‘that the virus could have been part of an offensive bioweapons program and leaked out accidentally.'”
Giroir said he believed the most likely scenario was a leak following gain-of-function mutation research, but he noted that China reportedly has an offensive biological weapons program.
“It is not crazy as people suggest like Dr. Collins suggested it could have been part of a bio program. It’s possible,” Giroir explained.
“How firm are you in that belief — or possibility?” Hemmer asked.
“It is certainly a possibility. This virus is not a great biological weapon if you look at characteristics but it certainly could have been part of a program,” Giroir repeated, clarifying that he did not necessarily believe it was intended to be a biological weapon, only that it should be included as a possibility.
“The most likely explanation is this was dangerous research, could have been funded by the NIH, and it leaked out by a laboratory accident. I still think that’s the most likely explanation and we need to work on that and get to the bottom of it,” Giroir continued.
Hemmer pointed to Fauci’s comments from a year earlier, noting that he had seemed fairly insistent on the virus being spread to humans by an intermediate host animal.
“The mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human. It could not have been artificially or manipulated the way mutations naturally evolve,” Fauci said.
“I was watching him on CNN last hour he said most likely animal to human today but is open minded. How much CYA is happening today?” Hemmer asked.
“The statement from last year was completely false. There was no pattern of mutations that suggest that it went right from an animal in a natural situation to humans. There is still no evidence to show that. So that statement was completely wrong,” Giroir replied, saying that Fauci had taken that position “to be antagonistic to President Trump.”
“There is a lot of CYA going on right now,” Giroir concluded, arguing that the early dismissal of the lab leak theory had been an attempt to take a position opposite the one taken by Trump and anyone in his administration.
“You know, the president suggested that it could have been a lab leak. Many of us suggested it was a lab leak,” he said. “This was obviously in contradiction to a hypothesis that we know is still likely the most likely one.”