Per The Washington Examiner, in a Twitter thread published Friday night, Cruz shared new information from the National Institutes of Health, according to which the laboratories where the coronavirus outbreak may have begun are funded by the U.S. government.
In the fiscal year 2019, $76,000 was allocated to a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the senator pointed out. “Add this deeply troubling grant transfer to the growing list of reasons why the U.S. needs to rethink its approach to China,” Cruz wrote, calling for a new approach to China.
“China is our greatest geopolitical threat. We need to start acting like it.”
President Donald Trump’s administration, the senator added, needs to halt any payments to Chinese virology labs. As the publication notes, Cruz echoed his tweets during an interview with The Daily Wire‘s Michael Knowles. Noting that it has not yet been confirmed that COVID-19 originated in a lab, Cruz read two statements provided to him by the National Institutes of Health.
“The project included studying viral diversity in animal parentheses, bats, reservoirs, surveying people that live in high-risk communities for evidence of bat, coronavirus infection, and conducting laboratory experiments to analyze and predict which newly discovered viruses pose the greatest threats to human health,” said one of the statements Cruz shared.
As The Washington Examiner notes, evidence suggests that COVID-19 originated from one of Wuhan’s wet markets, where exotic animal meat — including bat meat — is routinely sold. However, there has been speculation that the virus “leaked” from a lab in the Chinese city.
U.S. officials are reportedly concerned that some of the labs studying coronaviruses did not take necessary safety precautions, which allowed the virus to escape, from where it spread across Wuhan and then devastated the entire world. The officials do not believe that the virus is a biological weapon, nor do they believe the Chinese government deliberately unleashed it.
The sentiment Cruz expressed, about China posing a major threat to the United States, is no longer uncommon on the right. Speculation about the origins of COVID-19 has apparently made right wing figures reconsider policy toward China, and it is not only politicians that believe something needs to be done.
Earlier this week, Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs went a step further than most, arguing that the United States needs to go to war with China over the coronavirus pandemic. According to Dobbs, whether China released the virus on purpose or not, there needs to be a strong response.