U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was confident the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese virology lab, but declined to describe the evidence, ratcheting up tensions with Beijing over the origins of the deadly outbreak.
Trump did not mince words at a White House event on Thursday, when asked if he had seen evidence that gave him a “high degree of confidence” the virus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“Yes, yes I have,” he said, declining to give specifics. “I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.”
The Chinese state-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology has dismissed the allegations, and other U.S. officials have downplayed their likelihood. Most experts believe the virus originated in a market selling wildlife in Wuhan and jumped from animals to people.
Trump has shown increasing frustration with China in recent weeks over the pandemic, which has cost tens of thousands of lives in the United States alone, sparked an economic contraction and threatened his chances of re-election in November.