Trump called COVID-19 a ‘Chinese Virus,’ draws outrage

CBS White House Correspondent alleges that one of his staffers referred to the virus as the 'Kung Fu' to her face

Donald Trump
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

After a press conference Monday afternoon, where Trump warned that America could be headed toward a recession and encouraged Americans to practice social distancing, he took to Twitter later to add that the federal government would support numerous industries who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus.

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“The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!” Trump tweeted.

Officials, as varied as the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, blasted Trump’s “China Virus” phrase as wrong and dangerous in drawing an association between the potentially deadly disease and Chinese people. De Blasio warned that the tweet falsely places blame on China and could endanger Asian Americans.

“If you’re looking for someone to pin this crisis on, try the guy who made up a phony Google website or promised testing kits that he STILL hasn’t delivered,” de Blasio tweeted. “Our Asian-American communities — people YOU serve — are already suffering. They don’t need you fueling more bigotry.”

Chinese officials condemned Trump’s tweet, incredulous that he keeps bringing up China as the United States also struggles to contain the virus and the federal government fails to lead.

“The U.S. should first take care of its own matters,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, according to NBC News.

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus encouraged legislators to join the group in helping to “prevent hysteria, ignorant attacks, and racist assaults that have been fueled by misinformation pertaining to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).”

And Rep. Grace Meng, (D-N.Y.) told NBC in an earlier interview that several Republican legislators are using the racist phrase to distract people from the president’s mishandling of the pandemic rather than “actually dealing with the problem at hand.”

Last week, Trump called COVID-19 a “foreign virus,” plus he has retweeted a supporter who referred to the disease as the “China Virus.”

And while he retweeted that, members of his staff are reportedly using derogatory comments to the face of Asian Americans working in the field. This is what Weijia Jiang, CBS White House Correspondent, tweeted regarding the alleged bigotry.

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Trump’s Monday tweet came after CDC Director Robert Redfield told a congressional hearing it was “absolutely wrong and inappropriate” to refer to the disease by labels such as “Chinese coronavirus.”

Currently, there are roughly 3,500 cases of the virus, according to the CDC.