During a White House press conference Wednesday, President Trump defended his use of the term “China Virus” to describe COVID-19, telling reporters that the deadly virus comes from China and he wants to be “accurate.”
The media in recent days have been focused on the president’s use of the term, declaring it racist and hurtful to Chinese Americans, even though naming diseases after locations has been common practice forever, and virtually every media outlet complaining now has referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus” in the past themselves.
“Why do you keep calling this the Chinese Virus?” asked ABC White House reporter Cecilia Vega. “There are reports of incidents of bias against dozens of Chinese-Americans in this country. Your own aide [HHS] Secretary Azar says he does not use this term because ethnicity does not cause the virus. Why do you keep using this?” she pressed.
“Because that’s where it comes from,” Trump answered without missing a beat.
“A lot of people say it’s racist,” Vega insisted.
“It’s not racist at all,” the president shot back. “No, not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It’s comes from China, he added unapologetically. “I want to be accurate.”
President Trump asked again why he uses the phrase “Chinese Virus”:
“It comes from China, I want to be accurate” pic.twitter.com/bOt1HJSfRa
— ALX ?? (@alx) March 18, 2020
For the past week, the Chinese Communist Party has employed aggressive propaganda tactics as part of its ongoing efforts to undercut U.S. hegemony in the region and to divert attention away from its own failure to control the disease.
Party officials, government representatives and state media have been peddling deliberate lies and conspiracy theories that blame the U.S. government for the COVID-19 outbreak, and in many cases, the U.S. media have helped spread the propaganda.
Overtly referring to the disease as the “Chinese Virus” is President Trump’s way of combating the disinformation.