Assistant defense secretary nominee Scott O’Grady pushed bogus theory about origin of COVID-19

An image of Scott O'Grady and coronavirus

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

President Donald Trump recently announced that he intends to nominate author and former Air Force officer Scott O’Grady to be the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. O’Grady previously pushed the debunked right-wing media theory that the coronavirus was created in a “lab.” 

Media Matters reported yesterday that O’Grady, who is also the co-chair of the Trump campaign’s Veterans for Trump advisory board, has retweeted QAnon accounts, pushed right-wing conspiracy theories, and promoted other toxic rhetoric on Twitter. 

O’Grady appeared on the Uniontown, Pennsylvania, radio station WMBS on April 29 to tout the Trump campaign and talk about the coronavirus pandemic. During the interview, O’Grady praised the White House for its COVID-19 response and falsely claimed of the coronavirus: “It's very, very clear that this was lab-created.” 

SCOTT O’GRADY: There's a lot of open-source, unclassified material now. And in fact, if you give me your email, I'll send it to you. Scientific papers from Chinese scientists that have done the genome research on the COVID-19. Also, you can find papers coming from the virologist of the Wuhan lab, Shi Zhengli. And it's very, very clear that this was lab-created. Now, if that's the case, it's something we can take the deduction -- and this is just an assumption -- that our government has a lot better information than just open-source materials out to the probability of where this originated. 

There is no actual evidence that the coronavirus was “lab-created,” a claim that has also been pushed by right-wing media and an organization connected to former Trump aide Stephen Bannon.

The Associated Press reported on September 16 that “scientists say the molecular structure of SARS-CoV-2 rules out the possibility that the virus was created in a lab.” PolitiFact similarly wrote in a September 16 piece that “public health authorities have repeatedly said the coronavirus was not derived from a lab.” 

On Twitter, as Media Matters previously noted, O’Grady retweeted a post claiming that Dr. Anthony Fauci is part of the so-called “deep state” and he’s beginning to “leak his Deep State, WHO/globalist identity.” He also retweeted a post claiming that “Covid is not just about control, it’s about ushering in Marxism and a global reset!” 

Scott O'Grady Fauci deep state retweet
An image of Scott O'Grady retweeting a claim about COVID-19 and control