Republican Avoids Fox Host’s COVID Conspiracy Theory

Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo pondered on the air whether COVID-19 was orchestrated to negatively affect the United States and get President Donald Trump out of office.

In September, the GOP-led House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic (SSCP) penned a letter on behalf of House Republicans, alleging that former chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci was escorted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and influenced on the origins of COVID-19. The letter requested answers from the inspector general of whether Fauci, an immunologist and then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), intended to shape a particular narrative regarding the coronavirus lab-leak theory.

In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence analysts in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) backed a report issued at that time, titled “China: Origins of COVID-19 Outbreak Remain Unknown,” that coronavirus likely came from a Chinese lab. However, the report and a slew of scientists have concluded that the disease was not genetically engineered or released intentionally as a biological weapon.

“What do you think happened here?” Bartiromo asked Republican Representative Brad Wenstrup on Monday on her program, Mornings With Maria. “It was engineered, came out of the Wuhan lab, and then China tried to cover it up. That doesn’t tell me anything whether it was intentional.

Bartiromo COVID China Wenstrup Fox
Maria Bartiromo celebrates 30 years on the air at Fox Business Network Studios on October 18, 2023, in New York City. On November 20, Bartiromo suggested live on air that China might have intentionally spread COVID-19 to hurt the U.S. and help get Donald Trump out of office.
John Lamparski/Getty Images

“I mean, is there a chance that China released this virus on America intentionally—disrupt the country, get Donald Trump out, get your man in there, Joe Biden, and then cover it up?”

“Whether it was intentional or accidental, [Democrats] seemed to be aware of it,” the Ohio congressman and subcommittee chair replied, adding that Trump was hearing from Chinese President Xi Jinping that everything was OK when the virus first became public.

Wenstrup said that his subcommittee has received little feedback from Democratic members whom he claims want to move forward without fully dissecting how COVID-19 became a full-fledged pandemic.

Wenstrup and Bartiromo said Chinese bioweapons should be more of a broader concern in the post-COVID world, citing a Department of Justice indictment on November 16 in which Chinese citizen Jia Bei Zhu, 62, also known as Jesse Zhu, Qiang He and David He, was charged with distributing adulterated and misbranded medical devices after allegedly selling hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 test kits to U.S. companies without proper pre-market clearance and approval.

“You’ve got to take a look at who is in charge of America today, and Democrats seem to want to ignore every bit of this,” Wenstrup said. “I’m trying to be nonpartisan with this whole thing, but what we keep seeing is attempts to cover up, attempts to ignore what took place. And it doesn’t make any sense. It’s not good for the public health in the United States of America and I hope at some point Democrats come around to reality.”

The congressman also mentioned that the subcommittee conducted a transcribed interview within the past week with Peter Daszak, president of the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), whose organization gained notoriety during the pandemic due to years of researching bat viruses with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), where the first COVID cases were reported.

Daszak was warned by Chinese authorities about the dangers of publicly mentioning the virus, Wenstrup said, and Daszak briefed Fauci in 2021 “and has a relationship with him.”

Dating to October 2021 and following public revelations of EHA, Daszak was accused of concealing conflicts of interest, withholding critical information, and misleading public opinion during the pandemic.

“Chairman Wenstrup pointed out an obvious question: Why did every single Democrat member on the select subcommittee forfeit their chance to speak with Dr. Peter Daszak?” a select subcommittee spokesperson told Newsweek via email. “Considering Dr. Daszak’s organization funded risky gain-of-function research in Wuhan that may have led to the origination of COVID-19, it is concerning that Democrats on the subcommittee skipped this crucial interview.

“Chairman Wenstrup is working diligently to investigate the pandemic’s origin, follow the evidence wherever it leads, and keep partisan games out of the equation. As we look towards preparing our country to address a future pandemic, the chairman will continue his fight to reveal all evidence surrounding the origin of this virus and hold guilty parties accountable.”

Wenstrup also told Bartiromo that while some members and agencies have not been forward with their information, he says the DOE and FBI may lead others to come around and admit the virus came from a lab.

“[Former Director of U.S. National Intelligence] John Ratcliffe testified in front of our committee, and he said this clearly looks like it came from the lab,” Wenstrup said. “It’s the only credible explanation that’s out there, and he feels that more and more agencies will come around once they see all the information.

“And why would the Chinese Embassy send me a letter right when this subcommittee started, saying they have grave concerns about this investigation and this committee and they firmly oppose it?”