WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday poured cold water on a new World Health Organization report that concluded it was “extremely unlikely” the COVID-19 outbreak leaked from a Chinese lab.
In an interview with Fox News, Pompeo said he believed WHO officials were acting in the best interests of China and that he was aware of “significant evidence” that the global pandemic did in fact originate in a Wuhan laboratory.
“I must say the reason we left the World Health Organization was because we came to believe that it was corrupted, it had been politicized. It was bending a knee to General Secretary Xi Jinping in China,” Pompeo said of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the UN body.
“I hope that’s not the case here with what they’ve announced today. I’ll look forward to seeing their reports and analysis, but I don’t believe it’s the case that they got access that they needed. I know they didn’t get access they needed in a timely fashion,” he said.
“I continue to know that there was significant evidence that this may well have come from that laboratory,” Pompeo said.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “not a thing” had changed of his view that COVID-19 came from a lab.Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
“So nothing has changed in your view that it came from the lab?” asked “America’s Newsroom” host Bill Hemmer.
“Not a thing,” responded Pompeo.
A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the plague, which has so far killed 2.3 million people worldwide, visited the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged in late 2019.
“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research,” WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek said.
Peter Daszak (right), Thea Fischer (left) and other members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus arrive at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan.Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images
“However, the findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” he added.
Embarek said the possibility that the virus was manufactured in a lab would not be encouraged as an avenue for further study and speculated that bats were a probable source of transmission.
China’s Communist regime has promoted the idea that the virus can be found on frozen food and even blamed the outbreak on US troops, floating a conspiracy theory that the respiratory disease originated in a US lab in Maryland.
China’s ambassador to the United States told CNN on Sunday that the World Health Organization should investigate the US too.
Peter Ben Embarek has called the lab hypothesis “extremely unlikely.”Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images
Relations between Washington and Beijing soured as the Trump administration sought to hold the CCP accountable for its coverup of the origins of the virus and repeated refusal to allow investigators into the country.
In one of his first acts in the White House, President Biden re-enrolled the US in the WHO, swatting away concerns that the organization had failed to hold China accountable at the start of the health crisis.