Biden walks AWAY from reporters and blows off question on the COVID lab leak bombshell before heading to Delaware – as Republicans plan to pass bill that will require him to declassify ALL files on virus origin
- The president approached reporters as he departed the White House
- Several reporters yelled questions, with one about COVID origins
- Biden threw up his hands and looked ‘annoyed,’ then walked way
President Joe Biden got a head start on his weekend Friday after he approached reporters at the White House – only to blow off their questions about COVID and other matters and walk away.
Biden walked out of the White House Friday afternoon, preparing to put an end to a week that featured huddling with Democrats and news that he had a cancerous lesion removed from his chest.
He took a quick question about Paul Whelan, the American held in Russia, saying ‘we’re working on it,’ after Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed the U.S. had put a ‘serious proposal’ on the table for his release and raised it directly with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Then, Biden approached a group of reporters as if to speak. Several of them shouted questions, as is the custom – with one asking if he would hold China ‘accountable’ on the origins of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden walked towards reporters on the South Lawn of the White House – then abruptly turned away without speaking to them as several shouted questions
Then, he grimaced and shrugged. He turned and walked away toward Marine One – leaving the White House without speaking further.
The White House said this week there was still no ‘consensus’ in the administration on whether the virus was formed in the natural environment or escaped from a Chinese research lab in Wuhan.
Nor did Biden speak when asked a question about student loans while boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews.
He was accompanied on the trip by longtime advisor Steve Ricchetti and Terry Wolff, a Middle East specialist from the National Security Council.
According to a White House pool reporter, Biden ‘put both hands up in a shrug, seeming annoyed, and then turned and walked away toward Marine One.’
It was not clear if Biden was bothered by the cacophony of questions – a regular occurrence – or something about the nature of the COVID question.
Biden also declined to answer a question as he boarded Air Force One Friday en route to his Wilmington home
The question came days after an Energy Department report supported the theory that the coronavirus likely leaked from a Wuhan lab, although the analysis was made with ‘low confidence.’
It came days after a bombshell report that Energy Department scientists had concluded an analysis with low confidence that the COVID-19 pandemic emerged from a Chinese lab in Wuhan.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted by unanimous consent on a bill that require the administration to declassify all information on the origins of COVID-19 and on the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That bill was sponsored by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN)
A bill by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who chairs a new House Select Committee on China and who sits on the House Intelligence panel, is expected to match the Senate measure and come up in the House soon. He reintroduced the measure Friday.
The Energy Department has reversed its position and concluded based on new intelligence that the Covid-19 virus most likely leaked from a Chinese research lab. Pictured is the Wuhan Institute of Virology in February 2021
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning blasted what she termed ‘politicization’ of theories on the origins of COVID-19, after an Energy Department analysis that pointed to possibility of a leak from the Wuhan lab
That bill states that ‘there is reason to believe the COVID–19 5 pandemic may have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.’
It says the ‘Director of National Intelligence should 8 declassify and make available to the public as much 9 information as possible.’
It states that 90 days after enactment, the DNI ‘shall declassify any and all information relating 23 to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of the Coronavirus Disease 25 2019 (COVID–19).’
Normally the executive branch handles declassification matters. It was not immediately clear how the White House would respond.