Donald Trump calling Coronavirus the Chinese Virus.
Trump on 'Chinese virus' label: 'It's not racist at all' The president denied that his language, which critics call xenophobic, has put Asian Americans at risk.
WHO officials warn US President Trump against calling coronavirus ‘the Chinese virus’
President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that he was justified in branding the coronavirus pandemic as the “Chinese Virus,” disregarding criticism that the label is racially offensive and inaccurately depicts the global nature of the disease’s threat.
“It’s not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” Trump told reporters at the White House coronavirus task force’s daily news briefing as he was pressed on his repeated use of the term.
Earlier Wednesday, the president invoked the controversial descriptor in three morning Twitter posts, initially assuring Americans forced out of work by the burgeoning outbreak that the “onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault!”
Trump then wrote that he would be holding a news conference to discuss an announcement from the Food and Drug Administration “concerning the Chinese Virus” and claimed he had “always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously,” despite his previous comments minimizing its risk to the country.
Trump first employed “Chinese Virus” online Monday and again Tuesday, lamenting the industries and states that have been affected by the pandemic, which he had until then stylized as the “CoronaVirus” in messages on social media. He also mentioned the “Chinese Virus” in his opening remarks at a White House meeting with tourism industry executives on Tuesday, as well as at the outset of Wednesday’s briefing.
he president’s decision to switch labels for the coronavirus comes after he referred to COVID-19 as a “foreign virus” in an Oval Office address last Wednesday, and represents another apparent attempt to deflect blame for the public health crisis.
Trump last Friday charged without evidence that former President Barack Obama was responsible for the current administration’s failure to test large numbers of Americans for the coronavirus, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, remarking, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
He also insisted Monday that the coronavirus is “nobody’s fault, unless you go to the original source,” and said Tuesday that “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic” — an assertion that did not square with his past attempts to downplay the threat.
Trump’s adoption of “Chinese Virus” is a twist on the phrase “Wuhan virus,” which gained some prominence in news reporting on the outbreak and has since been echoed by White House allies and administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who note that the novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, a city in China’s central province of Hubei.
Chinese officials have lashed out over the word choice, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang last Monday condemning “the despicable practice of individual U.S. politicians eagerly stigmatizing China and Wuhan by association with the novel coronavirus, disrespecting science and WHO,” according to The Washington Post. American officials in turn have accused China of spreading misinformation by hinting without evidence that the disease may have originated in the U.S.
“I have a great love for all the people from our country, but as you know, China tried to say at one point that — maybe they’ve stopped now — that it was caused by American soldiers,” Trump said Wednesday. “That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen. Not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.”
Still, the president’s language has been met with resistance from other administration officials. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar committed that he would no longer ascribe a nationality or region to the outbreak, saying during congressional testimony last month that “ethnicity is not what causes the novel coronavirus.”
Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergency program, also emphasized Wednesday that “viruses know no borders” and scolded Trump for his statements regarding the “Chinese Virus.”
“It’s really important that we be careful in the language we use, lest it lead to profiling of individuals,” Ryan said in Geneva. “This is something we need to all avoid. I’m sure anyone would regret profiling a virus along ethnic lines.”
Democratic lawmakers have raised similar objections. “I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again loud enough for the @WhiteHouse, @FoxNews, & everyone else to hear: coronavirus does not discriminate. Bigotry against people of Asian descent is unacceptable, un-American, & harmful to our COVID-19 response efforts,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted Tuesday.
During Wednesday’s briefing, the president was asked about increased incidents of anti-Asian discrimination in the wake of the pandemic, including an account by CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang that an unnamed White House official “referred to #Coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face.”
But Trump denied that his use of the term “Chinese Virus” put Asian Americans at risk. “No, not all. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent. It comes from China. There’s nothing not to agree,” he said