Appearing with Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that the Chinese government “did all that it could” to conceal the severity of COVID-19 in early January.
Transcript from Breitbart:
RADDATZ: I want to turn to China, with intelligence officials, as we mentioned, saying that the Chinese government intentionally concealed the severity of COVID-19 from the international community in early January, while it stockpiled medical supplies.
In terms of international concealing, I assume you think they did that intentionally to keep as many masks for themselves as possible. Will there be some sort of retaliation?
POMPEO: Martha, you’ve got the facts just about right. We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place.
There’s lots of evidence of that. Some of it you can see in public, right?
We’ve seen announcements. We’ve seen the fact that they kicked the journalists out. We saw the fact that those who were trying to report on this, medical professionals inside of China, were silenced. They shut down reporting — all the kind of things that authoritarian regimes do, the way Communist parties operate. This is a classic Communist disinformation effort. That created enormous risk, and now you can see hundreds of thousands of people around the world, tens of thousands in the United States, have been harmed. President Trump has been very clear. We’re going to hold those responsible accountable, and we’ll do so on a timeline that is our own.
RADDATZ: And — and as for the origins of COVID-19, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement this week saying the virus did originate in China, but concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified, the statement going on to say that they will continue to examine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident in a laboratory in Wuhan. Later, the president was asked if he had seen anything that gave him high confidence that the Wuhan lab was the origin of the virus. Let’s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?
TRUMP: Yes, I have. Yes, I have.
QUESTION: What gives you a high degree of confidence that this originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
TRUMP: I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: And, Mr. Secretary, have you seen anything that gives you high confidence that it originated in that Wuhan lab?
POMPEO: Martha, there’s enormous evidence that that’s where this began. We’ve said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset. But I think the whole world can see now.
Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories. These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.
And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.
RADDATZ: Do you believe it was man-made or genetically modified?
POMPEO: Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.
RADDATZ: Your — your Office of the DNI says the consensus, the scientific consensus was not man-made or genetically modified.
POMPEO: That’s right. I agree with that. Yeah. I’ve seen their analysis. I’ve seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate…