Democratic California Rep. Brad Sherman took aim at the Biden administration’s inaction on COVID-19 origins during a committee hearing Tuesday.
Sherman questioned why the State Department hasn’t done more to hold China accountable for obfuscating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. He pressed Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“There’s a considerable dispute as to whether COVID came from a wet market, or came from the lab. The reason for that dispute is that China was absolutely opaque. They failed to cooperate, they failed to come clean, millions of people died around the world and a substantial percentage of them died because of China’s obfuscation at the beginning,” Sherman said. “The State Department has done almost nothing to tell the world how China’s responsible, not maybe for the virus, but certainly for their obfuscation and failure to cooperate afterwards.”
Sherman asked Kritenbrink if the State Department is going to do more to inform the world of China’s wrongdoing. As Kritenbrink began answering, Sherman interjected to point out that the COVID-19 origins dispute has not harmed China’s reputation in the developing world.
“But do people in India and Europe and South America who have lost relatives know that those relatives might be alive if China and its Communist Party had cooperated with the world in the first few months?” Sherman asked. “The answer to that, I’ll answer for you, the answer is no, because the State Department has done very little to tell the world.”
The debate over COVID-19 origins was reignited this week when a leaked Department of Energy assessment found that the pandemic most likely originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Both the intelligence and scientific communities have been split over whether or not the pandemic emerged from a lab leak from the WIV or naturally via spillover from a wild animal. (RELATED: Biden Goes Off-Script, Shouts About ‘Changing Places’ With Xi Jinping)
The State Department has consistently maintained that it is imploring China to be more transparent about the origins of COVID-19 and cooperate with outside investigations of the subject. On Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price would not clarify whether there would be actual consequences for China’s consistent refusals.