Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state and rumored 2024 presidential candidate, celebrated what he described as his "vindication" following the FBI's admission earlier this week that the coronavirus "most likely" originated from a Chinese lab leak.
Pompeo, who made the comments while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, was one of the earliest proponents of the lab leak theory. He faced sharp backlash, along with other proponents of the theory, as well as the dismissal of his arguments by the Biden administration and mainstream media.
"I'm not one for vindication, but this week it was good to see the Department of Energy finally conclude that the damn virus came from the lab in Wuhan," he said, referencing the Department of Energy joining the FBI in admitting the lab leak theory was the likely cause of the virus spreading.
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"I, frankly, nearly lost my job. I nearly lost my job as secretary of state for publicly ripping into China over what happened — this COVID virus that they foisted on the entire world, killing millions and affecting every life in this room for years and years," Pompeo added.
Pompeo touted his willingness not to toe the line of previous U.S. policy that he said was to avoid criticizing China. He pointed out he was right to suggest at the onset of the pandemic that the virus came from a Chinese lab despite the criticism he received.
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"Frankly, I was told to shut the heck up. But we should never shut the heck up when we're defending the United States of America and its people. It was wrong to praise the Chinese Communist Party when I went on TV in March of ‘20 … and said, ’I think this virus came from the laboratory,' was called racist and worse," he said.
"But the data was as clear then as it is today. And it's not that particular instance, but the idea of protecting America by speaking the truth that matters most."