U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton went on Fox Sunday and again mentioned the idea that a Chinese lab concocted the coronavirus and then unleashed it upon Chinese citizens.


The Twitter universe unloaded on him, prompting some Cotton backing and filling. Typical commentary came above from a neuroscientist running for Congress in Texas.

Here, the Washington Post points out Cotton’s airing of a conspiracy theory that has already been debunked.


In response to Cotton’s remarks, as well as in previous interviews with The Washington Post, numerous experts dismissed the possibility the coronavirus may be man-made.

“There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” said Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University. “The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.”

Heaps of such criticism sent Cotton to Twitter to crawfish. He repeated, as the Post story noted, that he’s not claiming to know for sure that Chinese research developed the research, though he happily continues to keep the idea alive.


He went on to alibi:

Again, none of these are “theories” and certainly not “conspiracy theories.” They are hypotheses that ought to be studied in light of the evidence, if the Chinese Communist Party would provide it.
We ought to be transparent with the American people about all this. Maybe some of these so-called experts think they know better. I don’t. And they really don’t either.
Criticism continued nonetheless. I liked this Cotton-inspired response from Fayetteville historian Michael Pierce.

UPDATE: It gets better. Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post conservative columnist, sees Cotton’s peddling of “quackery” as emblematic of the Republican Party’s descent into “authoritarian know-nothingness.”

She wrote of Cotton’s continued mention of a potential involvement of Chinese research in the disease outbreak:


This is unadulterated nonsense, one step removed from anti-vaxxer rubbish and UFO-spotting.

Slate also dumps on Cotton here.