Former President Donald Trump claimed in an interview Tuesday that “it was obvious to smart people” that the coronavirus emerged from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“I had no doubt about it,” Trump told Newsmax host and former adviser Steve Cortes. “I was criticized by the press because China has a lot of people taken care of. They took care of Hunter [Biden]. They took care of Joe. They took care of everybody, didn’t they? And people didn’t want to say China. Usually, they blame it on Russia. It’s always Russia, Russia, Russia, but I said right at the beginning it came out of Wuhan.”
Trump took a victory lap earlier Tuesday after Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to undertake a “transparent, science-based” investigation of the origins of the virus.
“Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus,” the former president said in a statement. “To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying ‘He was right.’ Thank you!”
The theory that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, once dismissed as fringe by the mainstream media, has gained traction in recent weeks following a widely-criticized WHO probe that argued the virus likely emerged naturally from animals. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers at the lab sought hospital treatment for a serious illness in November 2019, when most experts believe the virus was spreading across the city of 11 million.
Later in the interview, Trump defended his administration’s record in confronting the pandemic and threw in a jab at White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“Remember, I closed our country to China way earlier – much earlier than [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi or anybody wanted it to happen, including Dr. Fauci, who I always got along with pretty well, but I usually did the opposite of what he wanted,” Trump said. “He said the vaccine would take three to five years and probably wouldn’t even happen. And I got it done in less than nine months.”
“I think the best bet ever made was I bought millions and billions of dollars of vaccine before we knew it worked, before we had it approved, because otherwise we’d be waiting until October of this year …,” the former president added. “We did an incredible job with this horrible, with getting the ventilators and getting the outfits and the goggles and the masks and all of the things you had to do.
“We did an incredible job.”