White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is drawing applause online after she slapped down a query from a conservative reporter implying that China deliberately caused the pandemic.
Psaki had very little time for a New York Post reporter who asked whether Democratic President Joe Biden would follow through on former Republican President Donald Trump's demands that China pay reparations for "letting" the virus escape.
Psaki gave the reporter a simple four-word answer, and when he tried to rephrase the question, she shut him right down. Watch the moment below.
The New York Post, which has been openly pro-Trump throughout the former President's political tenure, has repeatedly published stories and op-eds calling for punishment of China for supposedly allowing the virus to escape and causing the pandemic.
In his question, Post reporter Steven Nelson cited recent remarks from Trump at a Wisconsin rally in which he called upon China to pay reparations to the United States.
Nelson asked Psaki:
"Former President Trump has called for China to pay the United States more than $10 trillion in reparations as a result of letting the coronavirus escape Wuhan and infect other countries..."
"President Biden hasn't called for reparations from China. Does he support them? Does he think that China should pay us financially for what it has allowed to spread?"
Psaki wasted no time slapping down the question. She replied simply:
"Our policy hasn't changed."
And when Nelson attempted to rephrase the query, Psaki interrupted even more pointedly.
"Did you have another question?"
The New York Post, along with many other conservative media outlets, has repeatedly called upon Biden to exact financial retribution on China for the pandemic.
The Biden Administration has not committed to doing so. Rather, Biden called upon U.S. intelligence agencies on May 26 to intensify investigations into how the virus emerged and to report back within 90 days.
Their investigation includes looking into the so-called "lab leak" theory, which posits that the virus was released, either purposefully or accidentally, from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Conservative media has repeatedly pushed the theory, often as fact and frequently with racist and xenophobic overtones, despite the lack of hard evidence and the fact that investigations into the matter by both the U.S. and the World Health Organization have yet to be completed.
On Twitter, people applauded Psaki for not indulging the question, and condemned the reporter for trafficking in unproven conspiracy theories.
While there is some thin evidence that the virus could have been released from a lab, and the scientific community has not ruled out the possibility of a "lab leak" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, most scientists agree that the most likely explanation for the virus is that it emerged naturally from an animal host.