People who outright dismissed the idea that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory have “egg on their face,” according to Jonathan Karl, the chief White House correspondent for ABC News.
Last week, President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the theory that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology. When asked about skepticism about the theory during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Karl said that “I think a lot of people have egg on their face.”
He added, “This was an idea that was first put forward by Mike Pompeo, [the former] secretary of state, [former President] Donald Trump, and look some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them. Because Trump was saying so much else, that was just out of control, and because he was, you know, making a frankly racist appeal talking about kung-flu, and the China virus, he said flatly this came from that lab, and it was widely dismissed … but now serious people are saying it needs a serious inquiry.”
Karl’s comments echo The New York Times’ David Leonhardt, who said that it’s a “mistake” to dismiss the possibility recently raised by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and others.
“I think people made this mistake, I think a lot of people on the political left, and a lot of people in the media, made the mistake, they said, ‘wow if Tom Cotton is saying something, it can’t be true.’ Or they assumed that. And that’s not right,” Leonhardt told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter on Sunday.
“Tom Cotton does deal in disinformation,” Leonhardt added, noting “that doesn’t mean that everything he says is wrong.
“And it seems like a lot of people — including a lot of people in the media, leaped to dismiss the lab leak theory because of where it was coming from,” he continued. “And the reality is we don’t yet know how COVID started.”
Biden said last week that U.S. officials are currently divided between two theories when it comes to the origin of COVID-19: either it originated naturally in animals or it came from a lab.
“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden said in a statement.
“Here is their current position: ‘while two elements in the [intelligence community] leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter — each with low or moderate confidence — the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.’”
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