Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy confronted John Kirby, the White House coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, on the administration’s efforts to determine the origins of COVID-19.
Doocy asked whether Biden intends to sign the “COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023” into law, which would require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify all intelligence surrounding the origins of COVID-19. The Senate passed the legislation Thursday, and the bill currently awaits a House vote.
“Would President Biden sign it?” Doocy asked Kirby.
“I won’t get ahead of the president’s decision-making, Peter, but … right after taking office, the president declassified and made public the DNI’s initial findings here about the sources of COVID,” Kirby said.
“So, he already very swiftly and unilaterally put information out there. That’s one. Two, the intelligence community continues to assess the origins of COVID, I know I’ve seen press reporting about some preliminary findings of a declassified nature, but there’s still no consensus. That’s why the president has directed the team to stay at the work, because he wants to know, he wants to the best we can know about the origins so we can work to better prevent a future pandemic,” Kirby continued.
“We have the FBI director saying most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan. If a foreign country came to the United States and killed 1.1 million Americans with guns, would the president just let that slide?” Doocy added. (RELATED: ‘Hurting Xi’s Feelings’: Doocy Asks Jean-Pierre Why Republicans Are More Supportive Of Pelosi’s Trip Than Biden)
Kirby said “nobody is letting anything slide” and that he is directing the intelligence community to get to the bottom of the pandemic’s origins. He further argued there is currently “no consensus” on the origins.
U.S. Department of Energy and FBI Director Christopher Wray in late February both concluded without complete confidence that COVID-19 likely originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory in Wuhan, China, that has experimented with coronaviruses. The agencies were previously undecided on the pandemic’s origins, and reportedly came to the conclusion after receiving newfound intelligence.
Doocy accused Biden of not taking any against China over the origins of COVID-19 in a tense exchange with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at Wednesday’s briefing. Jean-Pierre argued Biden is working to get to the bottom of what caused the pandemic, and touted the administration’s ability to tackle the virus’ spread across the U.S.