- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 4, 2023

Former President Donald Trump wants China to pay back the U.S. and the rest of the world for unleashing the novel coronavirus that destroyed lives and wreaked economic havoc around the globe.

Mr. Trump said he always believed the virus originated with a leak from a lab in Wuhan, China, so he was not surprised by the recent revelations from FBI Director Christopher Wray and the Department of Energy that the Chinese lab was most likely the source of COVID-19.

“It was a terrible mistake. It came from there and yeah, in some way, there should be something paid to the world,” Mr. Trump told reporters before speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington.

Mr. Trump estimated that the coronavirus leak cost the world $50 trillion.

China doesn’t have that $50 trillion or anything close, but something should be done for the world by China because what they put the world through is a terrible thing,” he said.

Mr.  Wray said last week federal investigators believe the COVID-19 pandemic likely started with a leak from the Wuhan lab. It was a startling reversal for Democrats and their allies who at the height of the pandemic said that blaming the lab was a conspiracy theory.

“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Mr. Wray told Fox News in an interview. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.”

The issue has received a lot of attention at the CPAC where speakers have criticized President Biden and Democrats for not accepting the leak theory and for being weak on China.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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