White House Endorses Gain-of-Function Research in Incredibly Bizarre Exchange

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The news that the US Department of Energy gathered new intelligence showing COVID-19 likely originated in a Chinese virology lab was a major topic at Monday’s White House press conference.


That probably explains the absence of Karine Jean-Pierre, who has shown no ability to handle tough questions from even normally friendly members of the press. Instead, John Kirby took the podium, and he didn’t do much better.

In an incredibly bizarre exchange, Kirby endorsed gain-of-function research when asked whether the president believes the “reward outweighs the risk.”

It’s hard to express how insane that answer is. We are still in the (hopefully) last stages of a global pandemic that killed millions of people, and the cause was almost certainly gain-of-function research done by the Chinese government. With that as the backdrop, why in the world would the White House be endorsing that type of research as worth the risk? What exactly has happened in the last three years that seemed like a good trade-off to Joe Biden?

I can’t fathom how anyone could make the case for gain-of-function in the current environment with a straight face, though Kirby tried his hardest to do so, ending with an affirmative “yes” to the question after talking himself in circles for a good minute or so. With everything we know, the White House apparently still can’t make a basic condemnation and pledge to stop future gain-of-function research (at least with American taxpayer money).


There are two explanations that I can see making sense here. The first possible one is that Kirby is simply a dunce who didn’t understand the question and/or lacked basic knowledge of what gain-of-function research is. That’s not a bad bet given how unimpressive the White House comms team is.

The second explanation is a bit more insidious. Is the White House still trying to cover for China and the administration officials who have spent years attempting to dismiss the lab leak theory? To admit that gain-of-function research is bad and needs to stop would be to admit that deadly mistakes were made, and figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci have been loathed to do anything but defend the Chicoms on that front.

I certainly hope that’s not what’s going on here, but I wouldn’t put anything past the Biden administration, which already has a long history of playing pattycake with the Chinese. Regardless, I think most can agree it’s inexplicable for the White House to put its stamp of approval on gain-of-function research after everything the world has been through with COVID-19. Anyone would be forgiven for asking what in the heck is going on.


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