In the earliest days of the pandemic, Facebook took it upon itself to curb “fake news” about the coronavirus. In a blog post from January 30, 2020, the company announced that it would “start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.”
One such “conspiracy theory” was that COVID-19 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and then escaped.
On April 30, 2020, President Trump was asked about this theory during a press briefing.
“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?” a reporter asked.
“Yes, I have. Yes, I have,” Trump replied. “And I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China. And this country pays them almost $500 million a year, and China pays them $38 million a year. And whether it’s a lot or more, it doesn’t matter. It’s still — they shouldn’t be making excuses when people make horrible mistakes, especially mistakes that are causing hundreds of thousands of people around the world to die. I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves.”
Later in the briefing, he was asked, “What gives you a high degree of confidence that this originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology?”
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.”
Trump couldn’t say whether it was accidental or intentional, but the media launched a full assault on Trump’s claims.
“What to make of the Trump administration’s Wuhan lab theory,” wrote Axios in a piece that noted, “The U.S. intelligence community and scientists like Anthony Fauci say there’s now enough evidence to conclude that the virus evolved naturally, putting to rest claims that it was some sort of bioweapon.”
“Trump, Pompeo Back Theory Wuhan Lab to Blame for Covid. U.S. Intelligence Is Less Convinced,” read the headline at Bloomberg. “Trump fans flames of Chinese lab coronavirus theory during daily briefing” reported The Guardian.
“Trump’s Wuhan Lab Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Is Bogus, According to, Uh, Everyone,” claimed VICE News in their headline.
“President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claims that the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab are getting little support elsewhere, with the World Health Organization, Western intelligence sources and even Trump’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci all saying there is no evidence to back the theory,” read their report.
Business Insider even suggested that then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other “China hawks” were spreading the “conspiracy theory” because they were “just performing for an audience of one — President Donald Trump.”
Yet on Wednesday, Facebook made the stunning reversal of their policy to delete posts alleging that COVID-19 may be man-made and originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps,” Facebook said in a statement. “We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge.”
This is a stunning admission by Facebook, and a total vindication of Trump, who was repeatedly accused of pushing a conspiracy theory.
Don Trump Jr. reacted to this in a video:
Yet, this mea culpa for the media is still being blamed on… you guessed it… Donald Trump.
“I think it is important to remember that part of the issue is when this was first being reported on and discussed back a few months after the pandemic had begun, was that then President Trump and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, suggested they’ve seen evidence that this was formed in a lab and they also suggested that is was not released on purpose,” said New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. “But they refused to release the evidence showing what it was and so because of that made this instantly political.”
NYT's @maggieNYT on the Wuhan lab leak theory: "Important to remember … then-Pres Trump and Pompeo both suggested they'd seen evidence this was formed in a lab … but they refused to release the evidence … because of that, that made this instantly political." pic.twitter.com/r9zi1lJT74
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 25, 2021
Ummm… Really? It’s Trump’s fault? Are we supposed to forget how often the media politicized every aspect of the pandemic, from the China travel ban to claiming Trump called COVID-19 a hoax to pushing the fake ventilator shortage story?
No, Trump didn’t politicize it, the media did. The Democrats did. They wanted the pandemic to be their ticket to defeating Trump in November and nothing was immune from politicization. The same media that mocked Trump over the Wuhan lab theory praised Andrew Cuomo, who sent thousands of elderly New Yorkers to their early deaths with his disastrous nursing home policy and then tried to cover it up.
Once again, Trump has been vindicated, and he deserves an apology.