A number of prominent Democrats spent months fiercely attacking former President Donald Trump and other Republicans over their concerns that COVID-19 might have originated at the state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
As it turns out, however, one of those Democrats — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — was voicing her own concerns about the same laboratory just over a decade earlier.
Clinton distributes talking points
According to a report from Human Events, Clinton called on France to share what it knew about the Wuhan lab, with particular focus on the potential for scientists to develop and proliferate biological weapons.
Via a secret cable dated June 29, 2009, and signed by the then-secretary, the message went to select U.S. embassies in certain nations ahead of a September meeting of the Australia Group, which is a collection of allied nations focused on international export control related to chemical and biological weapons.
The contents of this message were initially uncovered by WikiLeaks and have since gained new attention in light of evidence pointing to the lab as the possible origin of the pandemic.
Clinton included talking points that she wanted certain nations to address during the meeting in Paris, which included concerns about the activities of the Wuhan institute.
“The U.S. believes participants would benefit from hearing about your experiences assisting China in setting up a Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology from the export control and intangible technology transfer perspectives,” Clinton advised French leaders.
Anti-Trump narrative takes root
Among her stated priorities was information about “how China plans to vet incoming foreign researchers from countries of biological weapons proliferation concern.”
At other points in the cable, Clinton referenced similar concerns about China itself, albeit without mentioning the Wuhan lab directly.
In the talking points for Australia, for example, she expressed interest in “any information you can share related to China and North Korea” in regard to issues including “China’s Institutes of Biological Products, to include overhead imagery analysis, if possible.”
When Trump voiced concerns of his own about the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab, however, Clinton accused him of using “racist rhetoric” to shift attention away from his own response to the pandemic.
Of course, it strikes many Americans as no more racist to ask questions about the origins of a deadly virus than it was for Clinton to raise her own concerns during the Obama administration.