Republican Rep. Peter King of New York told Newsmax TV that the COVID-19 coronavirus may have been “some type of chemical and biological warfare” mistakenly released by China’s government, in an apparent attempt to lend legitimacy to a conspiracy theory circulating in right-wing circles.
In an interview uploaded Tuesday to the YouTube account of Newsmax TV, the right-wing television channel owned and operated by President Donald Trump’s friend Christopher Ruddy, host Greg Kelly asked King for his opinions about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. government’s response. About midway through the interview, Kelly asked King whether his background as a Homeland Security expert gave him any insight or “intelligence” to make sense of coronavirus claims Kelly had heard.
“Do you have any concerns about the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus? We mentioned Sen. [Tom] Cotton before. He’s been rather vocal about his theories that this had a sinister origin—biological warfare campaign, perhaps by the Chinese. I know he’s been dismissed. I hear people say, ‘Well, why would they have unleashed it in China?’ China, they’ve killed their own people before, not very long ago, within your lifetime,” Kelly said. “Is he crazy, or is there perhaps something to that, or at least worthy of investigation?”
King said he believed that the claims that the coronavirus had a sinister origin were worthy of investigation.
“I think it’s worthy of investigation, not that they intentionally released it. I can see them working on some type of chemical and biological warfare and have it escape, have it get out. Again, I don’t think they would want it going around the world, also, starting in China. Again, who knows? I don’t think so,” King said. “I think more likely if they were doing it, it was something that escaped through negligence, through error, and people I’ve spoken to, they have not been able to track that down, they don’t believe that’s the case, but again I don’t trust China at all. They’ve been disgraceful on this from the start, and it raises suspicions about why they wouldn’t let doctors and scientists from other countries go there immediately to try to help out with the situation.”
Kelly then asked King to rate the American press on how it had covered the coronavirus so far. King answered that he thought the press had been too critical of Trump.
“If they’re going to harp and dwell on every error that’s made, they’re really doing the country a disservice,” King said.