House Minority Whip Steve Scalise ripped Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during a speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Florida for allegedly preventing attempts to discover where the COVID-19 pandemic originated.
“Pelosi won’t do it,” the Louisiana Republican told attendees last week at the three-day conference that was held in Kissimmee, Fla., adding that when the GOP regains control of the chamber during the 2022 midterms, they’ll “hold China accountable.”
“They are covering for China right now,” Scalise said of Democrats, according to Just The News. “It’s a Soviet-style cover-up. We’re going to keep calling them out on it.”
A spokesperson for Pelosi’s office said that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is investigating the virus’s origin.
“They’ve announced weeks ago they are looking at this,” the spokesperson told Fox News.
Early in the pandemic, then-President Donald Trump openly speculated the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, not a “wet market” where exotic raw foods are prepared and the virus made the transition from an animal — a bat, most likely — to humans, a theory Chinese officials have said and many U.S. public health counterparts including lead immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci have long embraced.
But as his 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, noted in an interview earlier this month with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Trump’s claim was lambasted by the media, Democratic opponents, and former intelligence officials at the time.
“The question is, when President Trump said we believe that this originated in a lab in Wuhan, and the media by and large dismissed that, and even Jonathan Karl of ABC News came out and said the media had egg on their face for dismissing the potential claim of what transpired,” Lewandowski told Wallace in response to a question about why the former president did not press China harder on the issue.
In addition, several scientists came out in opposition to the lab-leak theory because they did not want to be associated with the former president, one of them admitted in a recent interview.
“At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” researcher Alina Chan told NBC News.
U.S. intelligence agencies are reportedly looking into the matter, noting in May that “all available evidence” is being “aggressively” examined.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community does not know exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus was transmitted initially but has coalesced around two likely scenarios: either it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident,” said Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Strategic Communications Amanda Schoch in a statement.
At the same time, there is an effort in Congress to establish a commission to investigate the origins of the virus. A measure introduced by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) would set up such a commission whose members would be charged with several duties.
“Its inquiry could include a look at the origins of the virus; early warnings and other communication with foreign governments; coordination among federal, state and local agencies; the availability of medical supplies; testing and public health surveillance; vaccination development and distribution; the uneven effect on minorities; and government relief policies,” Fox News reported.
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