- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Republican Senator and ardent Trump Supporter Lindsey Graham has claimed that the “dismissal” of the former president’s belief in the Wuhan-lab leak theory was one of the main reasons he lost the 2020 election.
In an op-ed for Fox News on Thursday, Mr Graham lashed out at the early skepticism of the theory, saying “early and near-total dismissal of the lab leak theory played a prominent role in the defeat of President Trump in the 2020 presidential race.”
Mr Graham wrote: “There is no doubt in my mind the combination of prominent scientists coming out strongly against the lab leak theory, along with officials from the State Department shutting down additional inquiries, ended up being two of the most consequential events in the 2020 election cycle.
“As more facts come to light, we are now learning it does appear the science was compromised, and there may have been a ‘Deep State’ science department which put an outcome – dismissal of the lab leak theory – over science,” the senator alleged.
The comments come amid ongoing debate surrounding the legitimacy of the lab-leak theory, which has been gaining more traction in recent weeks following Joe Biden’s request that US Intelligence pinpoint the origin of the coronavirus pandemic and consider the possibility of an accidental leak.
Amid the Chinese government’s ongoing refusal to openly cooperate with international investigations, calls for a deeper probe from the World Health Organisation, and released emails from doctor Anthony Fauci, the concerns have again come to the forefront of the debate.
During Mr Trump’s administration, health officials within the government largely publicly sidelined theories that the outbreak had begun as a result of an accidental leak from a lab as far-fetched.
The former president had long pushed the theory and has since reiterated that he has “very little doubt” that it is how the initial outbreak began. There is no definitive evidence that this was the origin of the initial outbreak.
"Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of Covid-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus," Mr Trump said in a statement in late May.
He added: "To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying ‘He was right.’ Thank you!"
China has vehemently denied all accusations that the virus came from a lab.
The country has accused the US of using the theory to distract from its own management of the pandemic and researchers have warned that focus on the controversial theory is exacerbating tensions between the two countries and facilitates racist rhetoric surrounding the pandemic.
A number of health officials, including top infectious disease advisor Dr Fauci, have maintained that the most “likely origin is from an animal species to a human”.
“I believe if you look historically, what happens in the animal-human interface, that in fact the more likelihood is that you’re dealing with a jump of species,” he told CNN.