At a time when the world needs to come together to fight the pandemic, Donald Trump lets loose his racism yet again.
Trump also called the coronavirus “the China virus” at the press conference and argued it wasn’t a racist term. When a reporter noted that dozens of Chinese Americans have faced racist attacks because of the virus in recent weeks, the president doubled down.
“It’s not racist at all, no. Not at all,” Trump said. “It comes from China.”
One senator, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, has vowed to “punish” China for the virus. “We will emerge stronger from this challenge, we will hold accountable those who inflicted it on the world,” he said last week.
Asked Wednesday if he agreed with Cotton, Trump said, “I don’t know if you’d say China is to blame. Certainly we didn’t get an early run on it. It would’ve been helpful if we knew about it earlier.”
As the press conference came to an end, one reporter asked about a tweet from CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang, who wrote on Tuesday, “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.”
Trump sidestepped the question about whether he thought the remark was appropriate, and doubled down on his earlier comments, saying again, “It comes from China.”
He even went to the extent of changing the notes given to him by aides in order to blame China.
Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out "Corona" and replaced it with "Chinese" Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump #trumpnotes pic.twitter.com/kVw9yrPPeJ
— Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford) March 19, 2020
Dan Froomkin writes that for one brief moment it looked like Trump was dialing down the bombast but it did not last.
Just a few hours after he shocked and angered the nation’s governors by blithely promising a quick recovery — but no help getting them respirators and other urgently-needed medical equipment — Donald Trump took to the podium of the White House briefing room Monday afternoon looking suddenly, if briefly, chastened.
For most of the next hour, to use a term befitting our toddler president, he behaved himself.
But Trump being Trump, he couldn’t bring himself to apologize for the many lost weeks of insufficient federal response, nor admit even the tiniest flaw: He rated his performance a 10 out of 10.
And soon enough, he was back to sending out vile tweets about the “Chinese Virus” and attacking “failing” governors who had the audacity to criticize the federal response.
Governors and regional officials have stepped into the leadership vacuum left by Trump and his courtiers.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Trump was asked why he changed his tone on Monday. He said he didn’t feel it had changed at all, although he noted, “I have seen that people actually liked it.”
Then he returned to his traditional combative tone. “The only thing we haven’t done well,” he said, “is to get good press.”
Then yesterday the Chinese government expelled 13 US journalists from that country, saying that it was in response to the US classifying Chinese state media organizations as foreign missions and tightening restrictions on them.
The expulsions come as the US and China attempt to shift blame over the coronavirus outbreak that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. As China struggles to return to normal in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which killed more than 3,000 people in mainland China, it has pushed the idea that the virus may have originated in the US. Donald Trump has continued to call Covid-19 the “Chinese virus”.
So just when we need global cooperation and maximum information flow to better deal with the pandemic, the US and China are going in the opposite direction, limiting journalists and engaging in ridiculous dueling claims about the nationality of the virus.