Republican Sen. Ron Johnson sent a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday demanding answers from the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases over his flip flop concerning the origins of COVID-19.
In the letter, Johnson notes that just a few months into the pandemic, Fauci “appeared to confidently assert that the virus originated naturally” but has now walked back his claims and called for further investigation. Johnson also points out that Fauci “appeared to be dismissive of the possibility that a laboratory played any part in the origin of the virus” and said he was “very, very strongly leaning toward this [virus] could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”
“The ambiguity of your recent statements about the virus’ origins raises questions regarding your assertion from a year ago when you confidently stated that the virus could not have been manipulated and that it occurred naturally,” Johnson wrote. “Further, your high level of confidence in rejecting a potential laboratory origin in May 2020 is perplexing, given that public reports highlighted safety concerns at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).”
Johnson also questioned whether Fauci saw an April 2020 Washington Post article “about information contained in two 2018 State Department cables where U.S. diplomats expressed concerns about the safety of the Wuhan laboratory.”
“It is not clear whether you had knowledge of the safety concerns at the WIV when you made your statement on the virus’ origins in May 2020. It would be troubling if you were not aware of those concerns, given that taxpayer money went to the laboratory through a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant. It would also be troubling that if, at the time of your statement in May 2020, you were aware of the concerns raised in these cables, and yet, you still dismissed the possibility that a laboratory could have played a part in the origins of SARS-CoV-2,” Johnson continued.
It because of Fauci’s influence on Americans over the last year, Johnson concluded, that he is requesting more information detailing why the NIAID director claimed the virus “originated naturally” instead of from a lab. Johnson also asked if Fauci knew about the 2018 State Department cables and if he “factor[ed] the safety concerns at the WIV into your May 2020 assertion about the virus’ origin.”