Asked outright whether he has seen evidence linking the novel coronavirus to a Wuhan laboratory, President Trump's answer was both succinct ("Yes, I have") and mystifying ("I can’t tell you that. I am not allowed to tell you that," he said later when asked what exactly has him so convinced the virus is linked to a lab). Trump also told reporters at the White House Thursday, "I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China." As CNN reports, Trump's claim of evidence linking the virus to a lab contradicts the word earlier Thursday from the US intelligence community, which said no determination had yet been made on any possible link, but that it agrees with the scientific community consensus that the virus is not manmade or genetically modified.
The intelligence community statement did, however, acknowledge it is looking into whether the outbreak could have been the result of a lab accident in Wuhan. "It's a terrible thing that happened," the president said Thursday, per the AP. "Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one, or did somebody do something on purpose." Administration officials have speculated that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is not far from the live-animal market that is considered a possible source of the outbreak. Either way, Trump said Thursday, "Certainly it could have been stopped," but China "either couldn’t do it from a competence standpoint, or they let it spread. It got loose, let's say, and they could have capped it." (Read more coronavirus stories.)