Members of the mainstream media accused President Donald Trump of promoting racism and xenophobia after he called the coronavirus “Chinese Virus,” but he countered their accusations with tweets that praised the Asian-American community. He outlined America’s duty to protect Asian-Americans and said that they are not responsible for the spread of the coronavirus.
“It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world,” the president tweeted. “They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus…. ….is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!”
….is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
The mainstream media criticized the president over using the phrases “Chinese Virus” or “foreign virus” to describe the coronavirus. It is believed that the virus was first contracted by Chinese civilians in Wuhan, China, thus the phrases “Chinese Virus” and “foreign virus.” The New York Times wrote that Trump was “ignoring growing criticism” about his use of the phrases, while NBC News cited experts which claimed Trump was fueling racism. Also, CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang claimed an anonymous White House official called the COVID-19 coronavirus “kung flu” to her face, but has not publicly identified the official. “This morning a White House official referred to the #Coronavirus” as the “Kung-Flu” to my face,” Jiang tweeted. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.”
This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) March 17, 2020
Trump reiterated that his use of the phrases accurately noted the origin of the virus and combat Chinese government’s conspiracy theories, which theories claimed that the U.S. military spread the virus in China. Meanwhile, the mainstream media pointed to public health officials’ warnings to not use locations in naming a disease or virus to avoid stigmatizing people from a location or region.
After tweeting his defense of the Asian-American community, Trump countered the media’s racist and xenophobic narrative. In two tweets, he debunked the media’s claim that he blamed Asian-Americans for spreading the virus and issued a call to stand in solidarity with them. His tweets reiterated his argument that the phrases criticized the Chinese government’s conspiracy theories and they were not intended to promote racist or xenophobic rhetoric.