Colbert Has 4 Words for the Energy Department Over Its Investigation Into COVID-19 Origins


Late-night host Stephen Colbert is taking issue with the Energy Department for looking into the origins of COVID-19.

The comedian brought up a report about the department’s investigation into the beginnings of the pandemic during his show on Monday night.

“The Department of Energy released a new report saying a lab leak is the most likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, there it is. Chinese wet markets, you’re off the hook,” he joked.

Colbert went on:

“Now if like me you’re wondering why the Department of Energy is the one making this judgment, it’s because that agency oversees a network of national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research. No, no! Bad Energy Department, no bio-labs until you finish building your electric car-charging stations.”

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He shared a four-word message for the department as he suggested it had exceeded the scope of its mission, “Stay in your lane.”

“You don’t see the Census Bureau building nukes,” he quipped.

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He then criticized the conclusion, which was made with “low confidence.”

 The Wall Street Journal reported the Energy Department believes a lab leak started the pandemic.

The Journal explained the “conclusion is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday there is still “not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community” about the virus’ origins.

“Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don’t have enough information to be sure,” he added.

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While different agencies have drawn various conclusions about the virus’s origins, there is a consensus it was not started as a biological weapon.

In 2021, a segment of Colbert’s show featuring comedian Jon Stewart went viral after he suggested a lab leak might be behind the pandemic.

“There’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what do we do? Oh, you know, who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab! That’s just a little too weird!” Stewart argued.

After the report about the Energy Department’s investigation, Stewart noted he received “swift, immediate, and quite loud” backlash for his 2021 comments on Colbert’s show. However, he did not “take that personally.”

“The part that I don’t like about it is the absolutes and the dismissive like ‘f*** you, I’m done with you. I will never forgive you, you have crossed an unforgivable line. You’ve expressed an opinion that is antithetical to mine, or not mine,'” Stewart added.

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