Donald Trump has slammed the mainstream U.S. media over its sudden about-face on the possibility that COVID-19 accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China, after major outlets rushed to embrace the theory when they originally mocked it as a fringe conspiracy.
‘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,’ Trump said in a statement on Tuesday.
‘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!’ he added.
The lab leak theory, which Trump’s administration pushed during his presidency, was long ridiculed as ‘disinformation’ by a media seemingly intent on discrediting him.
Donald Trump (seen on Tuesday) has slammed the mainstream U.S. media over its sudden about-face on the possibility that COVID-19 accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China
‘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,’ Trump said
Workers are seen in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in February
Now mainstream U.S. outlets are scrambling to backtrack after a year of sneering at the possibility that the pandemic originated as a lab leak – a theory that the Daily Mail has probed since the early days of the global outbreak.
In recent days, a number of developments have shaken longstanding critics of the lab leak theory, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who admitted this month that he was ‘not convinced’ that the virus jumped naturally from animals to humans, as he had previously long insisted.
Circumstantial evidence has long raised questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were known to be conducting experiments on bat coronavirus strains similar to the one responsible for COVID-19.
China insisted early and often that the virus did not leak from the lab, claiming that crossover must have occurred at a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan that sold live animals.
Trump’s remarks joined a chorus of commentary remarking on the astonishing turnaround, with those who once insisted that the lab leak theory was false, dangerous, and even racist now admitting that it is a likely possibility.
‘It didn’t ‘suddenly become credible’ it was always credible,’ Trump Jr tweeted on Tuesday in response to a Washington Post article saying the lab leak theory ‘has gained new credence’.
‘It literally always made the most sense. I understand the desired narrative media always wanted but didn’t anyone think the most likely scenario was the virus magically originated feet from the lab that worked with it?’
Don Trump Jr has slammed the mainstream U.S. media over its sudden about-face on the possibility that COVID-19 accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China
Fox News host Tucker Carlson also slammed Fauci and the mainstream media for spreading ‘lies’ about the origins of COVID-19.
‘Pretty much every sane person acknowledges at this point that the government of China likely caused the single worst man-made disaster in human history,’ he said on Monday.
On Monday, government sources told Reuters that U.S. intelligence agencies are examining reports that researchers at the Wuhan laboratory were seriously ill in 2019 a month before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported.
A still-classified U.S. intelligence report circulated during Trump’s administration alleged that three Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) researchers became so ill in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, sources said.
It remained unclear what their symptoms were, one of the sources said. The virus was first reported in Wuhan in December 2019 and then spread worldwide.
In the final days of Trump’s term in office, the State Department issued a public statement saying that several WIV employees became sick in autumn 2019 with symptoms that could be consistent with flu or COVID-19.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said on Monday it was ‘completely untrue’ that three WIV staff members had fallen ill.
Tucker Carlson has slammed Dr Anthony Fauci and the mainstream media for spreading ‘lies’ about the origins of Covid-19
Security personnel keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team in February
The laboratory is only 20 miles form the Huanan Seafood market, where China claims the first cluster of infections began
U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra called on Tuesday for the World Health Organization to be allowed to evaluate the source of the coronavirus and the ‘early days of the outbreak’ in a second phase of an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
In a report issued in March written jointly with Chinese scientists, a WHO-led team said that “introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway”.
‘Phase 2 of the COVID origins study must be launched with terms of reference that are transparent, science-based, and give international experts the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak,’ Becerra said in a video message to the annual ministerial meeting of the WHO.
The WHO, which opened its annual ministerial assembly on Monday, has not announced any follow-up to its initial Wuhan mission.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a news briefing on Monday that ‘we don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion about the origins’ of the coronavirus.
‘We need data. We need an independent investigation. And that’s exactly what we’ve been calling for,’ said Psaki.
The pandemic has killed more than 3.4 million people worldwide.
Liberal media’s dramatic flip-flop! A year after left-wing news TRASHED theory that COVID originated from a Wuhan lab when Trump supported the suggestion – outlets now throw their SUPPORT behind the idea
By Harriet Alexander for DailyMail.com
The liberal media have finally conceded that COVID-19 may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory – after a year spent ridiculing the suggestion.
The first fatality from COVID-19 was reported by Chinese state media on January 11, 2020, when a 61-year-old man who was a regular customer at a market in Wuhan died. The first confirmed case in the United States was 10 days later, when a man returned to Washington state from Wuhan.
Within a week, on January 26, 2020, the first article blaming the Wuhan Institute of Virology for the outbreak was published, in The Washington Times. Yet most mainstream media disputed the claims, dismissing them outright or even decrying them as racist.
When Donald Trump, on May 1, 2020, said he had ‘a high degree of confidence’ that the virus escaped from a lab, the New York Times, CNN, and NPR were quick to mock his comments.
CNN, which by the end of the Trump administration was brazen in its hostility to the president and his advisors, was almost gleeful in its mockery of the idea that the virus could have come from a laboratory.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and NPR were equally dismissive of suggestions that the virus could have come from a laboratory.
The Washington Post published a fact checker piece on May 25 saying the theory had ‘suddenly’ become credible after it was repeatedly brought up. It came after a year of naysaying from the liberal media who never accepted that it might be true
There is outrage over the fact that for the last year, the theory has been widely discredited by the media in America when it may explain the entire pandemic
Some outlets, such as the Huffington Post, even branded any suggestion the virus could have stemmed from a lab as a ‘toxic conspiracy theory.’
Few were able to suggest that COVID-19 could have stemmed from a research facility without backlash but that didn’t stop some media, including the Daily Mail, from questioning the narrative.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was also clear in demanding an investigation into whether it could have escaped from the lab.
Finally, in the past few months, came the first signs that opinion was beginning to change.
In January, a World Health Organization (WHO) report only served to raise more questions after Beijing strictly controlled an on-site visit and who the researchers compiling the report spoke to. The WHO team was only allowed three hours inside the Wuhan lab and was unable to examine any of the Wuhan institute’s safety logs or records of testing on its staff.
China’s actions led to Biden’s White House calling for greater transparency.
Even Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said that the visit was inconclusive, adding that ‘all hypotheses are open’ and warranted future study.
By May 11, the leading public health expert in the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci, had accepted that the idea of the virus escaping from a lab had been too quickly dismissed.
Asked whether the virus originated naturally, Fauci replied that he wants to look closer into the matter.
‘I am not convinced about that,’ he said. ‘I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.
‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
Fauci’s revelation came as a shock to many on the left who have accepted China’s narrative that coronavirus spread from a wet market since the virus first emerged.
Of course, China continues to insist that COVID-19 did not originate in the Wuhan lab.
‘The U.S. keeps concocting inconsistent claims and clamoring to investigate labs in Wuhan,’ China’s foreign ministry said in a written statement on May 24. This fully shows that some people in the U.S. don’t care about facts and truth.’
On May 1, 2020, CNN reported that Trump had ‘contradicted’ the intel community by claiming to have seen evidence the virus came from a lab.
‘President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
‘The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to “rigorously examine” whether the outbreak “began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” the report read.
Then on May 5, 2020, their editor-at-large Chris Cillizza wrote a scathing attack on the suggestion, entitled: Anthony Fauci just crushed Donald Trump’s theory on the origins of the coronavirus.
MAY 1 2020: On May 1, 2020, CNN reported that Trump had ‘contradicted’ the intel community by claiming to have seen evidence the virus came from a lab. They pointed to how rare it was for the intelligence community to make a statement
MAY 5 2020: Chris Cillizza wrote an opinion piece saying Fauci had ‘crushed Trump’s theory’ about the origins of the virus
OCTOBER 2020: CNN published another report about how the theory came from a ‘shoddy’ paper that was backed by Bannon. It claimed there was no proof whatsoever behind the theory
‘Before we play the game of ‘he said, he said’ remember this: Only one of these two people is a world-renowned infectious disease expert. And it’s not Donald Trump,’ Cillizza wrote.
‘In short, Fauci’s view on the origins of the disease matters a whole lot more than Trump’s opinion about where it came from.
‘Especially because, outside of Trump and his immediate inner circle, most people in a position to know are very, very skeptical of the Trump narrative that the virus came out of a lab – whether accidentally or on purpose.’
Cillizza’s article followed on from one four days earlier, headlined: ‘Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab’.
Yet fast forward almost a year, and the tone had greatly changed.
Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, spoke on March 26 this year to Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).
Redfield said that he had concluded the virus escaped from a lab.
MARCH 2021: The former CDC head, Dr Robert Redfield, on CNN in March 2021, saying he believes the virus came from a lab. He told the reporter: ‘I am of the point of view, I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine, science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.’ CNN called it ‘controversial’
MAY 2021: On May 24, a new report was which said US intelligence had found there was some evidence the virus came from a Wuhan lab
‘I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped,’ he said.
‘Now, other people don’t believe that, that’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.
‘It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in the laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.’
On May 23, The Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report
The following day the paper reported on a mysterious mine around 80 miles outside Wuhan where, in April 2012, six miners here fell sick after entering the mine to clear bat guano. Three of them died.
Chinese scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were called in to investigate and, after taking samples from bats in the mine, identified several new coronaviruses. Yet they were not forthcoming with their information.
On May 24, CNN admitted that there may be more to the Wuhan lab than initially believed. They published an update: New information on Wuhan researchers’ illness furthers debate on pandemic origins
But Cilizza is still standing by his earlier claims it isn’t.
He wrote an opinion piece on why Dr. Fauci was ‘hedging’ on the subject, and said just because Fauci said he was no longer ‘convinced’ of the origins, it didn’t mean he thought it came from a lab.
New York Times
When any Trump-supporting lawmakers said that the Wuhan lab theory merited further exploration, the New York Times was quick to dismiss their claim.
In the first month of the pandemic they seized on questions raised by Tom Cotton, the Republican senator for Arkansas.
‘We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there,’ Cotton said.
‘But because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says, and China right now is not giving evidence on that question at all.’
His words, on February 17, 2020, would prove prescient – yet the New York Times headlined its coverage: Senator Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins.
By April 30, 2020, the paper was describing the efforts from the Trump administration to get to the bottom of the virus’ origins as a political witch hunt.
‘Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials,’ the paper reported.
FEBRUARY 2020: The New York Times was initially adamant (left) that the Wuhan lab leak theory was a nonsense invented by Trump, but by 2021 was accepting that opinions varied (right)
APRIL 2020: Another NYT report which said Trump officials had been pushing spies to find evidence behind the theory
‘The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.’
The story was headlined: Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs
Yet this month two former science reporters at the paper – Nicholas Wade, who retired in 2012, and Donald McNeil, who left earlier this year amid a row about his language while guiding a tour of Peru – both said they now felt it was possible, indeed perhaps likely, that the virus came from a lab.
‘In early spring 2020, I reported an article for The New York Times on which I put the tentative headline: ‘New Coronavirus Is ‘Clearly Not a Lab Leak,’ Scientists Say,” McNeil wrote on Medium.
‘It never ran.’
He said that the paper was sharply divided over whether to believe the Trump officials saying it was a lab leak, or the scientists saying it wasn’t.
‘We still do not know the source of this awful pandemic. We may never know,’ he wrote.
‘But the argument that it could have leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology or a sister lab in Wuhan has become considerably stronger than it was a year ago, when the screaming was so loud that it drowned out serious discussion.
McNeil, who left The New York Times earlier this year, said that China’s ‘lack of candor’ was ‘disturbing’. McNeil was fired by the Times after it emerged he’d used the N-word during a conversation with students on a NYT-run trip. He published an article on May 17 about the subject. He said he’d been told ‘overwhelmingly’ by scientists that it did not come from a lab
MAY 2021: Now the Times is repeating scientists’ calls for an open mind on the theory
‘And China’s lack of candor is disturbing.’
Wade came to the same conclusion.
‘Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached,’ he wrote.
‘That said, the available evidence leans more strongly in one direction than the other. Readers will form their own opinion.
‘But it seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.’
Reporters for an article published on April 30, 2020, provided a nuanced and in-depth analysis of the Wuhan laboratory’s work, and emphasized the risks involved.
Yet their headline read: Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release.
The following day, the dismissive tone continued: Was the new coronavirus accidentally released from a Wuhan lab? It’s doubtful.
In May 2020 The Washington Post said it was ‘doubtful’ that the virus came from a lab in a story from its Fact Checker section
By May 24 this year, the paper was very close to admitting that they had been blinkered.
‘Given everything we know about how Trump handled such things, caution and skepticism were invited,’ wrote Aaron Blake, a senior political reporter at the paper.
‘That (very much warranted) caution and skepticism spilled over into some oversimplification, particularly when it came to summarizing the often more circumspect reporting.’
He admitted: ‘We might never truly know the truth.’
Now the Washington Post is urging WHO to carry out an investigation into what happened to determine if it did come from a lab
MAY 2021: Journalist Aaron Blake wrote that it is ‘vexing’ as a subject. He said: ‘It has become evident that some corners of the mainstream media overcorrected when it came to one particular theory from Trump and his allies: that the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally. It’s also true that many criticisms of the coverage are overwrought and that Trump’s and his allies’ claims invited and deserved skepticism.’
As concern was mounting about the virus in the spring of 2020, The Huffington Post was rapidly ridiculing all question of its origins.
‘A Toxic ‘Infodemic’: The Viral Spread Of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories,’ they headlined a story on April 7, 2020.
Yet a little over a year later, on May 24 of this year, the site followed up on the Wall Street Journal’s report into the hospitalization of the Wuhan lab workers in 2019, and the issues that this raised.
‘Wuhan Researchers Were Hospitalized With COVID-19 Symptoms Pre-Pandemic: Reports,’ they wrote.
APRIL 2020: The Huffington Post was initially skeptical (left) about alternative ideas surrounding COVID and called it an ‘infodemic’
MAY 2021: Now, like every other outlet, Huff Po is broadening its reporting on the theory
On April 23, 2020, NPR stated: ‘Virus researchers say there is virtually no chance that the new coronavirus was released as result of a laboratory accident in China or anywhere else.’
The radio news network was determined to prove that there was no credibility to the Wuhan lab leak theory, and produced a series of ‘explainers’ insisting that COVID-19 was transmitted from animals to humans.
‘Where Did This Coronavirus Originate? Virus Hunters Find Genetic Clues In Bats,’ they reported on April 15, 2020.
APRIL 2020: NPR was initially dismissive of suggestions that the virus leaked from a lab (left), but by May 2021 was covering the increasing speculation
MARCH 2021: After a WHO report said the theory was gathering more steam, the headlines became more open minded
Yet a little over a year later, NPR was following the WHO’s report – and its worrying conclusions – with interest.
‘Theory That COVID Came From A Chinese Lab Takes On New Life In Wake Of WHO Report,’ they concluded.
On March 31, they reported: Calls For An Open Investigation Into The Possibility COVID-19 Leaked From A Lab.
Among those watching the evolving news lines was Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state.
‘Over a year ago, I told @MarthaRaddatz that the Wuhan Virus most likely came from a lab leak,’ he tweeted on May 20.
‘She stopped just short of offering me a tin hat. The CCP said I was an enemy of mankind,’ he said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
‘And now? Well, now, the Left wing media is scrambling to get on the side of the truth.’
Daily Mail has been asking if the virus stemmed from a Wuhan lab since April 2020
The Daily Mail has consistently questioned the consensus that COVID-19 was naturally transmitted to humans from animals.
Our reporters have dug into the details and challenged assumptions about how the pandemic originated.
APRIL 4, 2020:
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was ‘zoonotic’ – originating in animals – it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
APRIL 15, 2020:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China ‘come clean’ following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the ‘costliest government coverup of all time.’
MAY 2, 2020:
Wuhan virus lab ‘cover-up’: Startling photos of scientists wearing little protection as they handle deadly bat samples vanish from website of Chinese institute at the centre of global suspicion over pandemic
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international suspicion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website – as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory’s work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the global crisis had its origins in the institute – a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
MAY 30, 2020:
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.
‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
JANUARY 2, 2021:
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump‘s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’
JANUARY 9, 2021:
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
APRIL 24, 2021:
Scientists studying bat diseases at China‘s maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.