Exclusive — Marco Rubio on China Covering Up COVID Origins: ‘It Reminds Me a Lot of Chernobyl’


    Rubio’s office recently released a several-hundred-page report, the product of a years-long investigation, detailing findings about how the virus seems to have originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and he appeared on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125, the Patriot Channel, to discuss the report and more this weekend.


    Breitbart ? Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – May 27, 2023

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    “Clearly, there had already been concerns about the biosafety of those facilities within China, and then the alarms really start to get louder over the summer and into the fall of 2019, and then you have these things–is the fact that they take down their research and results on virology in the middle of the night in and of itself anything? No. But when you put it together with all these other things, and drills at the airport and discussions about things like ‘novel coronavirus’ months before anybody else was using that terminology–I mean, if I had said to you, ‘there is a novel coronavirus’ in September of 2019, no one would know what I was talking about,” Rubio said.

    “People would think you’re talking about something that came from a beer bottle like a Corona or something–they wouldn’t know what it was. So, the fact they were already talking about these things months in advance and the reason why it didn’t get out is very simple–the Chinese government did not want it to get out. They did not allow it to get out. To this day, they do not want it to get out. They don’t want to be blamed for something that they caused. It reminds me a lot of Chernobyl.”

    View of the Chernobyl Nuclear power after the explosion on April 26 1986, in Chernobyl, Ukraine. (SHONE/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    West German custom officials closely screen goods, cars, and people coming in from East Europe on May 5, 1986, after the Chernobyl nuclear power disaster. (Patrick PIEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    An image of the evacuation and radioactivity check of people after the Chernobyl catastrophe in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

    A photo on display at the Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine, showing workers during the clean-up following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. (Francois LOCHON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    Rubio said the reason why the origins of COVID–and the Chinese cover-up of it all–reminds him of Chernobyl is that “totalitarian regimes do not reward bad news.” Rubio also said Western counterparts–he specifically named Dr. Anthony Fauci as one–were working “in cooperation with” the Chinese to silence anyone who raised questions about the lab in Wuhan. He said the Western collaborators seem to have engaged in this activity because they want the funding streams and partnerships with labs like the one in Wuhan to continue.

    A rescue worker sets up a flag signaling radioactivity in front of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant during a drill organized by Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry on November 8, 2006. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

    A sign warns of radiation contamination near a former apartment buildings on April 9, 2016, in Pripyat, Ukraine, near the Chernobyl nuclear power. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

    “They do not reward the underlings who report problems up top so they try to cover up, they try to obfuscate, and obviously, in the case of China, there is reputational damage that they don’t want to be a part of–and unfortunately, I think they had cooperation with researchers in the west who didn’t want to believe this stuff and didn’t want anything to endanger their ability to work closely with these guys,” Rubio said.

    “That’s why you see a guy like Fauci out there for months effectively trying to silence for months,” he continued. “There was a time when if you said this was a lab accident you would have been censored on Facebook; you would have been called a quack by the press because these guys used their positions of credibility of their scientific position to participate in a political exercise which is ‘we need to smear anyone who questions us and ensure there are not more eyeballs on it because if the eyeballs come on it they’re going to realize that we knew this research was going on, and to some extent, we cooperated in this research, and we want this research to continue and this kind of collaboration to continue and not be endangered by any such revelations.’ So, the fact it didn’t come out earlier, in September, October, November–the Chinese Communist Party would not allow it to come out, and people here who had reason to suspect it had reason in not letting it come out either.”

    White House Chief Medical Adviser on COVID-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Joe Biden as he tours the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, February 11, 2021. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

    Rubio’s report, as Breitbart News has reported, is arguably the most in-depth product from an official source delving into what happened in the lead-up to and early days of the pandemic, explaining how the virus spread out from Wuhan to the rest of the world.

    “None of it relied on any intelligence work. It did rely on some staff who had an understanding both of the Chinese system and of Mandarin and were able to go and find all kinds of interrelated pieces, some of which were no longer available online,” Rubio said. “Look, it’s–people talk about no smoking gun and circumstantial evidence, but I think there comes a point on something like this where the combination of an overwhelming mountain of circumstantial evidence combined with just common sense leads you to some conclusions.”

    “What is pretty clear here, and you can see it very early on, well earlier than any public discussion of it, as early as July and August that something was going on in Wuhan and in these institutes. There was a lot of nervousness about the safety of this facility. There were people beginning to report about, and you can see it in some of the things released–some of the upper echelon leaders in their healthcare system and in their party were taking a great interest in the safety and security of that facility. There were people who started missing work in those facilities that were related to some of this research.”

    Researcher Shi Zhengli, known as the “bat lady,” works in her lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China on May 24, 2020. (Chinatopix via AP)

    Rubio’s report connects a number of dots and presents facts in a clear way that had not been previously done, including detailing the extent to which the CCP’s most senior officials, including Xi Jinping himself, seem to have been involved in these matters–and just how extensive the CCP’s investments in such research truly are.

    “When you piece that together with everything else, it’s clear this pandemic started much sooner and much earlier than they have publicly disclosed, that its epicenter was somewhere in those labs, not just the Wuhan Institute of Virology but the Wuhan Institute of Health, which is also located in the same city and is another place that had a lot of noise and static coming out of it,” Rubio said. “When you piece all that together with unlike the fact with SARS and MERS, they still have not produced the animal. China has still not come forward and said here is the animal that caused the outbreak. To this day, they have not produced that, and there is a reason for that: It doesn’t exist.”

    “So, I think now we have enough to say it is very likely, more likely than not, that this began as experiments that were going on in these institutes, and somebody got infected–irresponsible stuff–and they spread it to the world,” he continued. “They didn’t tell anybody about it. They didn’t tell anybody about it. They didn’t share information. They tried to contain it within their totalitarian system, and the world has paid an extraordinary price. It’s also a reminder that, even as I speak to you now, there is all kinds of research both in virology and in the genetic field happening inside of China–oftentimes with the cooperation of U.S. researchers and even U.S. public and private dollars in the past–that’s equally if not more dangerous in terms of what it could mean to the world if it were to spin off in the wrong direction. This is a real 21st-century problem we’re going to continue to confront, but it all begins with establishing fundamental truths and that is that dangerous things were being done over there, and they were very likely the cause of this global catastrophe.”

    A migrant worker has his temperature taken on February 25, 2020, outside a factory in Zouping, in China’s Shandong province. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

    Staff members line up at attention as they prepare to spray disinfectant at Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan, China, on March 24, 2020, during the COVID pandemic. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

    What is more, the first major Western country slammed by COVID after it first spread in China was Italy–which had less than a year prior joined China’s global influence-peddling scheme, the Belt and Road Initiative. COVID rocked Italy as early as late January and early February 2020–well more than a month before the virus spread to the United States–and Rubio noted that workers from Wuhan who were living in Northern Italy but had traveled home for Chinese New Year celebrations as well as tourists, an increased relationship between the countries seemingly as a result of the Italian decision to join Belt and Road, seems to have contributed to the spread of COVID.

    “A couple of interesting points about this is the new Prime Minister of Italy is actually much better and much better aligned on the issue of China and is more realistic–but at the time, you’re absolutely right,” Rubio said. “The Chinese and Italian governments had created a very strong commercial interlink–and also tourism. Italy was a place where there was a lot of Chinese tourists coming. So it’s logical that that would happen, and you would see that sort of impact happen in places like that. The linkage is pretty clear. I don’t think anyone can dispute this virus originated inside of China. We now know for a fact that most of the people who got COVID were either not symptomatic, or most people don’t die from COVID–although it’s a very dangerous virus, most people don’t die from it, and a lot of people didn’t even get sick from it, but you have it, and you’re traveling.”

    “So, if you have all these people coming back after visiting China–a place where by now this thing is probably spreading like wildfire, and they’re bringing it back over with them, it’s only logical,” he added. “Logic tells you–and I think it would be an interesting study, I haven’t done it–but to see all of the countries that have that kind of inter-relationship, not just Italy, but others, and link their outbreaks to those ties because there’s no doubt that the more people you had coming from mainland China into your country during that time period the faster you are going to have an outbreak in your country. Eventually, it spread everywhere, but the more of those links the faster that happened. Again, an example of what we’re dealing here: They didn’t care. The Chinese Communist Party didn’t care about whether people were going to die halfway around the world. They cared about protecting their reputation at the expense of what we now know was a global catastrophe that to this day is still impacting us and look at the learning losses in America–all of that is linked right back to the decision they made to try to cover this up to this day.”

    Now, though, the new prime minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, is reportedly taking steps to remove Italy from the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative–a withdrawal that could happen as soon as this year. Rubio praised Meloni for the move, and said it “makes all the sense in the world.”

    “Look, I remember when she won–when her party won–and a lot of the global press and U.S. press was freaking out ‘oh my God, an ultra-right-wing lunatic,'” Rubio said. “But what’s happening in the entire Western world is millions and millions of people across political spectrums who have been, for lack of a better term, hurt or screwed over by globalization and you’re having this pushback against it. It’s worked out great if you’re in the financial industry or financial sector, or maybe even technology to a certain point, but if you’re someone who used to work with your hands or used to work in a factory, globalization has taken my job and sent it to China and created a middle class halfway around the world at our expense.”

    “So, now you have leaders that are not socialists and are rising up to this and saying we got to have our economic policies reflect the national interest,” he said. “Nationhood matters. Place matters. It always has mattered. It has always mattered to the Chinese. It obviously matters to the Russians. And it should matter to Italians and it should matter to Americans and it should matter to everyone. We are not, at the end of the day, citizens of the world or consumers of a global market–we are first and foremost from the place we live in: community, city, country. You have that reflected in Italian politics now, as you did to some extent with Boris Johnson in the U.K. and certainly in the United States with Donald Trump and the change you see inside the Republican Party becoming a working-class party. So I think that’s just reflective of an important correction that needs to happen, not just in the U.S., but in the industrialized world in the 21st century. This 20 or 30-year experiment with global citizenry has not worked, and in fact, it has only worked to the benefit of places like China that never bought into it in the first place. They took the benefits of it, but they didn’t give up their national interest.”

    Security personnel stand guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, on February 3, 2021. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

    Rubio, who ran for president in 2016 but lost in the GOP primary to now former President Donald Trump, has been one of the leading voices inside the GOP, steering the party away from corporate special interests and back towards working-class populism. Rubio has offered a number of different legislative proposals and plans and helped with others like the rail safety plan from Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) in the wake of the East Palestine derailment in Ohio. Asked about all of this, and the shift in the GOP in recent years, Rubio said it is definitely real and definitely happening.

    “It comes down to the approach. I think Americans, for a long time, have been given a false choice–the choice between socialism, which is a disaster, and this sort of unbridled, laissez-faire, the market-is-always-right capitalism at the expense of the national interest,” Rubio said. “For 30 years, what we’ve basically been told is ‘look, we have to serve the market’ and sometimes to serve the market means we’re going to have to do things that are not good for our country, but they’re good for the market and the global economy and that’s what we should be for. I think that became sort of a bipartisan consensus, but some of it became dominant. So what’s happening now is people are saying, ‘look, I believe in the market, but I believe the market exists to serve the country, not the country to serve the market.’ I believe the market is always going to give us the most efficient outcome, which is usually the right outcome. But what happens in those instances where the most efficient outcome is not good for America?”

    Rubio noted that, for instance, while it is more efficient to buy certain products from China, doing so is not in the national interest.

    “It’s more efficient to buy medicine from China,” Rubio said. “They do it cheaper because it’s subsidized, and they have cheaper labor. But is it in our national interest to depend on China for our medicine or rare earth minerals or electronics or anything else? The answer is no, it isn’t. That’s what you’re starting to get. You had a lot of corporate interests that are invested in that status quo, right? Because that’s their factories over there that’s making these things at a cheaper cost, or they’ve been given the promise that ‘if one day you behave, corporate America, we’ll give you access to five percent of the Chinese marketplace, and your shareholders will be very happy, and your share values will go up.’ So that translates to a lot of issues.”

    On the rail safety plan, in particular, Rubio said that sometimes what is best for the bottom line of a mega-corporate interest like a railroad is not what’s best for the American people.

    “You talk about the rail issue for a moment–that’s one of America’s core infrastructures. We transport a lot of really important things on rail in America,” Rubio said. “That’s an industry that moves toward efficiency. I’m not against efficiency. But efficiency cannot come at the expense of the national interest. Some of that efficiency will come down to things like well, ‘we should try to do as much as we can with the least amount of workers.’ When that leads to accidents, that’s not just bad for American workers–but when it leads to accidents, I think we have a role to step in and say, ‘okay, how can this be brought under control.’ Yeah, it’s the most efficient outcome, but it’s not a good outcome for America to have these derailments simply so you can save on labor costs.”

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) questions witnesses during a Senate appropriations committee hearing on May 26, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)

    The shifts happening inside the GOP are slowly but surely swinging away from the special interests and towards what is the national interest, he said, adding though that he thinks, “that is still a work in progress.” Rubio said even his personal history came from the failed old way of doing things, but having the experience he got from running in 2016 for president introduced him to all sorts of new people and issues nationwide he had not before been exposed to. Rubio thinks the full transformation of the GOP will take another few election cycles, though, even though is clearly already underway.

    “There is a tremendous amount of infrastructure built up in the sort of right of center built around this outdated consensus which has failed us that needs to be taken on,” Rubio said. “Look, that’s the school of thought I was raised in politically. I can’t say I was 100 percent adherent to it, but a lot of it framed my thinking for many, many years because that’s sort of what dominated the right-of-center discussion. For me, running for president introduced me to a lot of people and places and things I had never sort of seen before being from Florida, which is a state that is not a sort of large industrial state. It forces you to think about it and to work on it, and you come to the realization that the number one objective of American foreign policy and domestic policy should be the best interests of Americans and America. I think every country in the world should be governed that way, and most of them do.”

    “But for whatever reason, we thought we didn’t have to do that anymore,” he continued. “We were wrong. So, I think it’s a work in progress. I think we’ve made progress. I think there are some people who are more open to things than they used to be. But we still have a tremendous amount of donor power and intellectual infrastructure built around a traditional status quo of what’s good for the global economy is what we should be for type politics and it’s going to take a few more cycles to continue down and reorient. But it’s happening, and it’s happening at the grassroots most certainly.”

    Breitbart News Saturday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

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