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The only Republican running for the 34th Congressional District in Los Angeles has repeatedly tweeted that the novel coronavirus was “man made” and implicated Pope Francis, Hillary Clinton and others in the spread of the illness.

“Bill Gates is one of the financiers of the Wujan (sic) lab where it was being developed,” congressional candidate Joanne Wright wrote in a Feb. 24 tweet that has since been deleted. “I wouldn’t put it past them and by ‘them’ I mean everyone from [Rep.] Adam Schiff to George Soros, Hillary Clinton and the Pope.”

Wright’s tweets appear to refer to a conspiracy theory that posits the coronavirus was created in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported.

The California Republican Party has denounced Wright’s comments. “These views are not representative of the @CAGOP regarding this serious public health issue,” the organization tweeted Saturday.

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