The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

During the February 21 episode of his radio show War Room: Pandemic, former White House adviser Steve Bannon hosted Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire and fugitive who employs him, without disclosing their business relationship. In the episode, Guo claimed, without evidence, that he has “no doubt” the coronavirus is “man-made” and that it’s “ridiculous” for people to claim otherwise.

As BuzzFeed News and other outlets have noted, Bannon has significant financial ties to Guo, known as “Miles Guo” on War Room: Pandemic and by multiple other names elsewhere.

Axios reported in October that in August 2018, Bannon and Guo inked a $1 million deal for Bannon’s “strategic consulting services” for a year. Axios’ report noted that a second contract, which was set to begin August 2019 and had at the time of publication not been signed, was for another $1 million and listed specific duties that included Bannon serving as a senior editor for Guo’s news outfit, G News.

During the February 21 episode of Bannon’s show Guo said he has “no doubt” that COVID-19, the World Health Organization’s name for the coronavirus at the heart of a global pandemic, is “man-made.” 

As noted in the BuzzFeed report, G News has made false claims about COVID-19, including that China is on the precipice of admitting that the virus “leaked” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology located in the city where the coronavirus outbreak first occurred. In a recent two-part video posted to the G News website, Guo also claimed that the Chinese Communist Party “is spreading the virus around the world.”  

BuzzFeed also noted that the exiled Chinese billionaire is a “critic of the ruling Communist Party” and has a checkered history in both China and the United States, including “accusations of both financial and sexual misconduct, including a rape allegation from a former assistant.” Guo denies the allegations, the report added, and claims they are “politically motivated.”

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

If you've seen videos of people who took part in the U.S. Capitol riot weeping in shock after being barred from boarding their flights home, you may feel as Oscar Wilde did upon reading a tragic passage from a Charles Dickens novel: "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing." But schadenfreude is not a good basis for government policy.

In the aftermath of the horrifying Jan. 6 rampage, the Transportation Security Administration said it was "processing hundreds of names with law enforcement agencies for a thorough risk assessment," with an eye toward putting some of them on the federal no-fly list. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer thinks anyone who was inside the Capitol building should be kept off of airliners. "We cannot allow these same insurrectionists to get on a plane and cause more violence and more damage," he said.

Keep reading... Show less