President Donald Trump and Republicans at-large aren’t exactly taking the spread of the Coronavirus very well. Trump has claimed that coverage of the illness’s negative effects is part of some kind of conspiracy to make him look bad, and one Republican Congressional candidate in California has been among those to name some names who are supposedly a part of the conspiracy. Recently, the 34th Congressional District’s Joanne Wright has tried to implicate a range of figures including Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Pope Francis, and Adam Schiff in the spread of the virus — none of whom obviously have any connection whatsoever.
For example, on February 24, she tweeted:
‘Bill Gates is one of the financiers of the Wujan lab where it was being developed. I wouldn’t put it past them and by ‘them’ I mean everyone from Adam Schiff to George Soros, Hillary Clinton and the Pope.’
The Coronavirus was not developed in a lab, although that’s what Wright seems to be implying. Others with a much higher profile have made the same accusation — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for instance, claimed during a February appearance on Fox, in reference to Chinese authorities’ claims that the virus originated among animals:
‘We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says.’
In other words — Cotton leaped to accuse China of “duplicity” and “dishonesty” just because… he felt like it? And yet again, in the hands of Republicans, a substantive issue has become fodder for political attacks.
On February 27 — not that long ago — Wright tweeted again, writing:
‘The Corona virus is a man made virus created in a Wuhan laboratory. Ask @BillGates who financed it.’
— JoanneWrightForCongress (@JWrightforCA34) February 27, 2020
Again — the virus was not made in a lab. Bill Gates did not finance it — and neither did George Soros nor anyone else who the GOP might like to vilify. Yet, in one Congressional district, Wright is apparently the best candidate that the party could come up with.
Over the weekend, the California Republican Party distanced themselves from the comments. They shared in their own Twitter post:
‘These views are not representative of the @CAGOP regarding this serious public health issue.’
These views are not representative of the @CAGOP regarding this serious public health issue.
— CAGOP (@CAGOP) February 29, 2020
The party’s executive director Cynthia Bryant defended Wright’s supposed First Amendment right to say “whatever” she “wants to,” but she did acknowledge that the party “plans to review the rule that gives automatic endorsements to GOP candidates if they’re the sole Republican on the ballot,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Wright is the only Republican running in her district, and she got a by-default endorsement from the state party for her Congressional race.
Trump himself has pushed plenty of nonsense commentary about the illness, which is spreading across the U.S. as more cases get confirmed with the late arrival of actual testing procedures. However, there remains no evidence whatsoever of some kind of conspiracy against him underlying coverage of the serious Coronavirus public health situation.