Donald Trump's US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has managed to contradict himself on whether he believes coronavirus was created in China or not.
During an interview on ABC's This Week, Pompeo was questioned on the unfounded theory that the president has begun to spread that Covid-19 isn't a natural disease and was manufactured in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
This claim has already been disputed by the director of National Intelligence, one of the United States' top spy agencies, but Pompeo seemed a little confused on his stance on the subject on Sunday.
Speaking to ABC News, Pompeo was asked by Martha Raddatz if he believes the virus was "man-made or genetically modified" which he initially appeared to agree with.
Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.
However, when Raddatz told him that this wasn't what the intelligence agencies believed, Pompeo began to change this story.
Your office of the DNI says that the scientific consensus was that the Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.
Confusingly, Pompeo said that he agreed with that.
That’s right. I agree with that. Yes. I’ve seen their analysis.
I’ve seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate at this point.
Noticing that Pompeo had just contradicted himself, Raddatz asked him to clarify his stance on the issue.
OK, so just to be clear, you do not think it was manmade or genetically modified?
Rather than say that he did or didn't agree, Pompeo then goes back to blaming the Chinese Communist Party for the pandemic, contradicting himself yet again.
I've seen what the intelligence committee has said and I've no reason to believe that they have gotten it wrong but you have to put this into context.
Here's what's important, Martha. The Chinese Communist Party had the opportunity to prevent all the calamity that has befallen the world.
This is an enormous crisis created by the fact that the Chinese communist party reverted to form. Reverted to the kind of disinformation, the kinds of concealment that authoritarian regimes do.
Had those scientists been operating in America, they would have put this out, there would have been an exchange of ideas and we would have quickly identified the things that needed to be done in response.
Instead, China have behaved like authoritarian regimes do by attempting to conceal and hide and employ the World Health Organisation as a tool to do the same.
So, he agrees that it wasn't created in a lab but still feels that China has conspired to spread a novel virus that experts are still trying to learn more about? Huh?
RADDATZ: Do you believe coronavirus was man-made? POMPEO: The best experts seem to think so R: But the DNI says t… https://t.co/I4qK0eyj41— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1588537136
We're starting to suspect that Trump and his entourage might be making this up as they go along.
@atrupar @ewong Worst. Secretary. Of. State. Ever.— Norman Ornstein (@Norman Ornstein) 1588541875
@atrupar @SpiroAgnewGhost He doesn’t know what he is talking about.— Gen Michael Hayden (@Gen Michael Hayden) 1588539406
Is this an old Mr Show sketch? https://t.co/2pA3gsg9lp— Sarah Silverman (@Sarah Silverman) 1588544529
The sky is green - I have no reason to disbelieve that The sky is blue - I agree with that https://t.co/DDbcveL9dM— Sven Henrich (@Sven Henrich) 1588537422
At the time of writing more than one million people have been infected with coronavirus in the United States, which has resulted in a reported 68,276 deaths.
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