House Republicans, many of whom have largely downplayed the severity of Covid-19 and backed former President Donald Trump’s increasingly damaging rhetoric about the virus, are now insistent that Congress launch a probe into the virus’s origins.
A letter from 209 House Republicans led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), GOP Whip Steve Scalise (La.), and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) calls on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to authorize a congressional investigation.
“We request that you instruct the appropriate Democrat committee chairs to immediately join Republican calls to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter reads.
“There is mounting evidence the pandemic started in a Chinese lab, and the CCP covered it up,” the lawmakers continue. “If that is the case, the CCP is responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 Americans and millions more worldwide.”
Many Republicans have suggested that the virus originated in a Wuhan, China lab, a theory that has largely been dismissed by the scientific community. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report in March calling the laboratory theory “extremely unlikely.”
The Republicans mention the WHO in their letter, whose efforts they characterize as a “failure.”
“It is clear the WHO failed to produce the final word on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the CCP’s liability,” they wrote. “That task falls to us in Congress. House Republicans have consistently called on you to uncover this truth. It is time you join this battle.”
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden authorized an investigation into the virus’s origins; shortly afterward, Canada announced it would support the U.S. investigation.
“We support the call by the United States and others to better understand the origins of COVID-19,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters. “I know there are a lot of theories out there, but we need to make sure we’re getting to a full and complete airing of the facts to actually understand what happened and how to make sure it never happens again.”