When asked about Rep. Devin Nunes‘s claims that he has circumstantial evidence that China created COVID-19 in a lab, Jen Psaki wasn’t playing that game.
Jen Psaki takes apart a bogus question based on Devin Nunes’s China COVID created in a lab conspiracy theory. These sorts of responses by the Press Secretary are why Republicans are struggling to get their conspiracies into the mainstream. pic.twitter.com/1cYOs7JU56
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) May 20, 2021
Psaki was asked if the White House has seen evidence that COVID-19 was not created in a Chinese lab.
The Press Secretary answered, “First, I would caution you against disproving a negative there, which is never the responsible approach in our view when it comes to getting to the bottom of the pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. I will say that our view continues to be that he needs to be an independent, transparent investigation data provided from the Chinese government, we don’t have enough information at this point to make an assessment.”
The follow-up question contained the real political point for Republicans, “Part of the reason some of these lawmakers say because China is not cooperating right now. At one point, would President Biden call President to say we have 587,883 dead Americans. We are trying to figure out if this happened, if covid originated in one of your labs, let us in.”
Psaki replied, “I would say that we have made that call publicly many times. We have conveyed that privately, and we have certainly communicated that they were not transparent from the beginning. That is not acceptable. There is an opportunity now and the next stage of this effort for them to be transparent, to participate in international investigations that can bring a conclusion to the origins and provide information that we, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in this country, would love to have access to.”
Reporters in the White House Press Pool constantly use Republican conspiracies or talking points without specifically stating where they come from. Psaki wasn’t playing the game and going to give the Nunes conspiracy theory any credibility.
Republicans are still trying to play the Biden is weak on China ploy that failed for them in 2020, and Jen Psaki is a big reason why their talking points aren’t breaking out of the right-wing media bubble and into mainstream conversation.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association