During the infancy of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-President Donald Trump and his administration were concerned that a lab leak might have occurred at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology and that, whatever the case may have been, Beijing wasn’t being upfront or forthcoming with either the United States or World Health Organization about the virus’ origins.
At the time, Dr. Anthony Fauci — effectively our country’s COVID czar — pooh-poohed both of these notions.
As the Trump administration put pressure on China to start delivering the facts, Fauci sat in the background, content to tell us how many masks and face shields we ought to be wearing and whether we could ever go back to shaking hands again. (Spoiler alert: No.)
Two-and-a-half years later, Fauci, blessedly, is on his way out of the federal government door. Now that he’s no longer the face of COVID policy, he can say what he wants.
Lo and behold, he now admits the lab-leak hypothesis might have happened and, whatever the case may have been, Beijing was stonewalling the United States and the World Health Organization about the virus’ origins.
And you know who’s responsible for that, Fauci said? Trump!
Appearing on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday as part of his extended national exit interview, Fauci — the outgoing director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden — told host Margaret Brennan that if Trump hadn’t put pressure on China to do the right thing and let health officials investigate, China would have done the right thing and let health officials investigate.
“What happens is that if you look at the anti-China approach that clearly the Trump administration had right from the very beginning, and the accusatory nature, the Chinese are going to flinch back and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we’re not going to talk to you about it,’ which is not correct,” Fauci said.
Which is funny, because less than five minutes before this, Fauci admitted that the Chinese government has a history of secrecy no matter who the U.S. president is.
“One of the problems is that, and this is historic, it goes way back to bird flu, the H5N1, the H7N9, the original SARS-CoV-1,” he told host Margaret Brennan after confirming he’d seen no data from China despite Biden asking for more data about COVID’s origins.
“That the Chinese, not necessarily the scientists that we know and we have dealt with and collaborated with productively for decades, but the whole establishment, a political and other establishment in China, even when there’s nothing at all to hide, they act secretive, which absolutely triggers an appropriate suspicion of like, ‘What the heck is going on over there?’
“When you had SARS-CoV-1 back in 2002, they were not transparent at all about what the heck was going on in China … until it got into Hong Kong, and then spread to the rest of the world.”
Wow. It’s almost like this is a consistent pattern — as Brennan noted when she said that the Biden administration hadn’t gotten answers even when it had said pretty pretty please.
“But they’re not talking to the Biden administration about it either is what you’re saying,” she said in response to his claim that Trump’s attitude was to blame for the secrecy.
“Exactly. I think that horse is out of the barn, and they’re very suspicious of anybody trying to accuse them,” Fauci said. “We need to have an open dialogue with their scientists and our scientists, keep the politics out of it. And let the scientists — because these are scientists that we’ve known for decades, and we’ve collaborated with them.”
Fauci defends China for covering up COVID origins, blames Trump for it pic.twitter.com/U08yPQxxL5
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) November 27, 2022
Elsewhere in the interview, he insisted that he and his colleagues “keep a completely open mind as to what the origin” of COVID-19 was:
“Having said that, if you look at the examination by highly qualified international scientists with no political agendas, they’ve published in peer-reviewed journals, the best of the peer-reviewed journals, that all the accumulated evidence, particularly related to the Chinese bringing into the Wuhan market animals from the wild that should not have been there that clearly could have brought in from a bat to them to a human, that the evidence is quite strong that this is a natural occurrence,” Fauci said.
“Does that mean we’ve ruled out that there was something funny going on at leak? Absolutely. And I, and all of my colleagues, keep an absolutely open mind, we’ve got to investigate every possibility because this is too important not to do that.”
While I confess to not being behind the scenes at NIAID during the early days of COVID, Fauci’s “open mind” has always appeared to be open to anything that confirms his pre-existing biases that the virus absolutely couldn’t have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology despite acknowledging that there’s an off chance that the virus escaped from a questionably run lab that conducted experiments on bat coronavirus in the city where the virus first appeared in a country that actively stonewalled any real inquiry into the virus’ origins.
Furthermore, even though that country has a history of stonewalling public health officials in the past, Donald Trump is to blame for China’s recalcitrance — because if only Trump had stopped applying pressure to Beijing, the Chinese would have acted transparently, the way they absolutely haven’t either before COVID or after Biden’s inauguration, when no one was applying pressure to them.
Thank heavens the only time we’ll be seeing Fauci on Capitol Hill in any official capacity in the near future is if and (more likely) when he testifies before GOP-led House committees that finally start conducting serious inquiries into how he and other high-level “trust-the-science” apparatchiks mishandled COVID-19.
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