Day 1,197: Trump touts conspiracy theory hours after U.S. intel community debunks it
Donald Trump’s relationship with U.S. intelligence continues to get worse. Just days after a damning report indicated that Trump ignored over a dozen intelligence briefings about the dangers of the coronavirus in January and February, Trump publicly contradicted their latest findings on Thursday.
Trump has been not-so-subtly pushing a conspiracy theory that many on the far-right are also trumpeting. The claim is that the coronavirus was not created naturally. Rather, it was man-made in a laboratory in Wuhan, China where it escaped either through intent or negligence, ultimately leading to a pandemic.
Thursday, intelligence officials shut that theory down the idea that the virus was man-made, while noting they are investigating whether the virus escaped due to an accident.
On Thursday, the U.S. intelligence community released an assessment formally concluding that the virus behind the coronavirus pandemic originated in China. While asserting that the pathogen was not man-made or genetically altered, the statement pointedly declined to rule out the possibility that the virus had escaped from the complex of laboratories in Wuhan that has been at the forefront of global research into bat-borne viruses linked to multiple epidemics over the past decade.
“The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said, using a common initialism for the U.S. intelligence community.
Just hours later, Trump undercut intelligence officials, claiming he saw evidence that the lab was the origin of the virus, but that he couldn’t reveal more.
Trump would get the type of information he’s saying he has from intelligence officials. If they don’t have something, Trump doesn’t have it. So when the ODNI puts out a statement, which is quite rare, they aren’t holding something back only for Trump to spill the beans later. No, Trump was caught off guard by the ODNI’s statement and got caught in an obvious lie meant to throw red meat to conspiracy theorists.
All of this is an attempt to blame China for Trump’s many shortcomings in battling the coronavirus.
1,197 days in, 265 to go
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