Trump Abruptly Stops Using 'Chinese Virus' Term: 'I Decided We Shouldn't Make Any More of a Big Deal Out of It'
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that having refuted Chinese propaganda that sought to shift blame for the origin of the coronavirus, he’s ready to move on.
Trump spoke to Fox News after Tuesday’s “virtual” coronavirus town hall. Fox anchor Bill Hemmer asked Trump why he had not used the term “Chinese virus” during the event after hammering it home in the preceding days, sparking outrage from liberal commentators who claimed the phrase was racist.
“Well look, I have a very good relationship with President Xi,” Trump said. “And they went through a lot. Some people say other things. They went through a lot. They lost thousands of people. They’ve been through hell.”
“I’ve always said, whether it’s Ebola, or so many, I could name 10 of them, you take a wonderful place in Connecticut. I’m sure they’re not thrilled with the Lyme disease, right? But they do name it after places,” he said.
Trump on Monday issued a tweet condemning any racism against Asian-Americans.
….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 president went on to say he was correct in his terminology.
“It came from China,” he said.
When asked by Hemmer if he regretted the language, Trump was not the least repentant.
“I don’t regret it. They accused us of having done it through our soldiers. They said our soldiers did it on purpose,” he said. “What kind of a thing is that?
Trump said the claim was not just a routine bit of fake news.
“That was their paper. That was a paper that’s an organ for pretty much the top people and I didn’t like that,” he said.
“Everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it. I think I made a big deal. I think people understand it.”
Trump said he was forced to counterpunch when China accused American troops of something they did not do.
“That all began when they said our soldiers started it. Our soldiers had nothing to do with it,” he said.
The claim had been made by Zhao Lijian, a foreign ministry spokesperson, who said, “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian is pushing #coronavirus conspiracy theories as the country works to control the narrative of the #CoronavirusPandemic
More @business: https://t.co/C31bEM6sDo pic.twitter.com/PKy9CEU6QH
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) March 13, 2020
Trump had previously bristled at the claim.
“I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them,” Trump said at a news briefing on March 17, according to The New York Times. “I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”
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