Biden snaps at the press when asked about the origins of COVID


March 3, 2023 | 18:33

WASHINGTON – President Biden became flustered and abruptly ended a press conference before it began Friday when he was asked about the origins of COVID-19.

The 80-year-old president approached reporters to speak as he left the White House for a weekend at his home in Delaware, but turned and left after hearing the question.

“On the origin of COVID, do you want to hold China responsible?” asked reporter Iris Tao of NTD Television — just days after the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Energy Department now believes the virus that killed more than 1 million Americans leaked from a Chinese lab.

Biden stunned reporters by throwing his hands in the air and walking over to his waiting Marine One helicopter.

The president previously stepped away from the press after appearing unwilling to answer questions on Feb. 16 when The Post asked, “Is your ability to deal with China compromised by your family’s business ties in China, President Biden?”

Biden bristled, “Give me a break, man,” and declined to take any other questions, adding, “You can come to my office and ask a question when you have more polite people with you.”

President Biden abruptly ended a press conference before it began when he was asked about the origins of COVID-19.
Oliver Contreras/UPI/Shutterstock

Biden rarely mentions interest in determining the origins of the pandemic, which the FBI also believes leaked from a facility in Wuhan, China, where risky U.S.-funded research was focused on modifying the coronavirus before the outbreak.

“The FBI has for quite some time now considered that the origin of the pandemic is most likely a potential laboratory incident in Wuhan,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled laboratory.”

Biden’s son Hunter and brother James have extensive business ties with Chinese state-linked companies – with the president engaging with his relatives in at least two separate business deals.

Republicans regularly criticize Biden for not doing more either to determine the origins of COVID-19 or to pressure Beijing to stop illegal fentanyl exports that have led to an increase in US overdose deaths, killing nearly 200,000 Americans from 2019 to 2022, in recent years as data is available.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday flatly refused to confirm reports that the Energy Department recently updated its position on the origins of the pandemic.

Virologist Shi Zheng-li, left, works with his colleague in the P4 laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Future publication via Getty Images

Under political pressure, Biden in May 2021 ordered a US intelligence community review of the origins of COVID-19, after previously saying the US would turn to the World Health Organization for answers.

The spy agencies assessed in August 2021 that it was “plausible” that the virus came either from a laboratory release in Wuhan or from natural origin via animal-to-human transmission.

At the time, a written statement attributed to Biden said: “The world deserves answers, and I will not rest until we get them.”

“Responsible nations do not shirk this kind of responsibility to the rest of the world,” the statement added. “Pandemics do not respect international borders, and we all need to better understand how COVID-19 came about to prevent further pandemics.”

But Biden, who campaigned vigorously in 2020 to crack down on then-President Donald Trump’s handling of the outbreak, has rarely addressed the issue publicly since then.

In response to a question from The Post in January 2022, Biden claimed that he pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to be open about the origins of the virus during a virtual summit in November 2021, even though then-press secretary Jen Psaki had given reporters the opposite impression. Biden said his own press team was not aware he did so because they were not in the room for that exchange.

After a July 2022 phone call between Biden and Xi, Jean-Pierre questioned whether Biden pressed the Chinese leader on the origins of COVID-19, but said he brought up fentanyl.

The topic was left out of Biden’s public opening remarks and a White House reading of the private portion of Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with Xi in November, although Biden aides later claimed he mentioned it behind closed doors.

Documents published in late 2021 by The Intercept revealed that the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance used US grants to fund Wuhan laboratory experiments that modified three bat coronaviruses distinct from COVID-19. The research discovered that they became much more infectious among “humanized” mice when human-type receptors were added to them.

Biden’s approach to determining the origins of the pandemic stands in stark contrast to Trump’s. The former president, who is seeking a rematch against Biden in 2024, has pushed and forced China to pay $50 trillion in “reparations” for the virus, which caused massive global economic, social and educational upheaval.

There are two major Biden family businesses in China that are currently a focus of House Republican investigators.

The first concerns an investment company called BHR Partners formed by then-second son Hunter Biden in 2013. The second concerns a firm called CEFC China Energy, which allegedly paid Hunter and his uncle James Biden millions in 2017 and 2018, as Joe Biden contemplated a presidential bid .

Hunter Biden co-founded BHR Partners in 2013 within weeks of joining then-Vice President Joe Biden aboard Air Force Two for an official trip to Beijing, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hunter introduced his father to incoming BHR CEO Jonathan Li in a hotel lobby on that trip, and Joe Biden later wrote letters of recommendation to Li’s children.

Online business records indicate that Hunter Biden still co-owns a 10% stake in BHR, despite his father’s insistence there would be no family business-related conflicts of interest during his presidency. Hunter Biden’s lawyer Chris Clark said in late 2021 that the BHR stake had been disposed of, but neither he nor the White House has provided further information about the supposed transaction.

Joe Biden was also allegedly involved in the CEFC trade.

Hunter and Jim Biden earned $4.8 million from CEFC China Energy — part of Beijing’s foreign influence “Belt and Road” initiative — in 2017 and 2018, the Washington Post reported after reviewing Hunter Biden’s laptop documents.

Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski says he met with Joe Biden in May 2017 about the CEFC deal, and a May 2017 email from another associate, James Gilliar, says the “big guy” was to take a 10% cut.

Bobulinski and Gilliar have both identified Joe Biden as the “big guy,” and an October 2017 email identifies Joe Biden as a participant in a conversation about CEFC’s attempt to buy U.S. natural gas.

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