Tom Cotton says Biden administration ‘doesn’t want’ to hold China accountable for pandemic
Tom Cotton says Biden administration ‘doesn’t want’ to hold China accountable for pandemicRachel Schilke
March 19, 12:57 PM March 19, 12:57 PM
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) said the Biden administration is afraid to hold China accountable for its role in the spread of COVID-19 as lawmakers wait for President Joe Biden’s signature on a bill that would declassify intelligence relating to the pandemic.
“The Biden administration simply doesn’t want to align itself with that view,” Cotton said of the Wuhan lab leak. “They want to continue to stress the uncertainty or the lack of direct evidence, which we may never have because China has covered it up because they don’t want to be forced to take action to hold China accountable for unleashing this plague on the world.”
WHITE HOUSE NONCOMMITTAL ON BILL THAT WOULD DECLASSIFY COVID-19 ORIGINS INTELLIGENCE
The Department of Energy concluded last month that the lab leak theory is the most plausible explanation for the pandemic that swept into the United States and caused nationwide shutdowns in 2020, joining the FBI in its conclusion. Four other agencies believe COVID-19 stemmed from natural transmission, and two other agencies, including the CIA, have not reached a full conclusion.
The White House declined to commit to whether President Joe Biden would sign the COVID Origins Act, which passed the House unanimously in a 419-0 vote. The Senate unanimously passed the bill on March 1.
It will require the director of national intelligence to declassify all information it has gathered on the possible links between the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Wuhan Institute of Virology to allow lawmakers to avoid a similar situation in the future.
“We will continue to use every tool to figure out what happened here while also protecting classified information,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday. “We’re going to take a look at the bill. I just don’t have anything to share on how we’re going to move forward at this time.”
The legislation’s passage marked a striking departure from the early days of the pandemic when the lab leak hypothesis was dismissed as a conspiracy theory.
Cotton, who was one of several Republicans that initially blamed the Chinese lab for the coronavirus pandemic, said his observations were not based on classified evidence but “common sense and the facts in front of our faces.”
“I think any farmer or trucker in Arkansas with an ounce of common sense will tell you this virus almost certainly came from those labs,” Cotton said. “A large majority of Americans now believe that, as well.”