Trump Defies Media Complaints, Defends Use of the Term 'Chinese Virus' To Describe Coronavirus


President Donald Trump is defending his use of the term “Chinese virus” to describe the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province.

At a White House news briefing Tuesday, Trump rebuked Chinese officials and others who have claimed the coronavirus was planted in China by the U.S. military.

“China and others have criticized you for using the phrase ‘Chinese virus.’ How do you feel about that? Are you going to continue to use that phrase?” a reporter asked the president.

“China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them,” Trump responded. “That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term.

“I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody.”

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He then pushed back against the reporter’s assertion that using the phrase creates a “stigma.”

“I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” the president said.

Do you think President Trump should say "Chinese virus"?

Trump has been using the term “Chinese virus” in recent days, drawing praise from some for calling it like it is and backlash from others for supposed bigotry.

On Monday, he tweeted, “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!”

China’s largest newspaper, the state-run People’s Daily, attacked the terminology on Twitter.

“Some US politicians try to stigmatize China with #COVID19, which China strongly condemns. China urges the US side to stop this groundless accusation, the Chinese FM spokesperson said on Tuesday in response to US President Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ tweet,” the newspaper tweeted.

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

A number of Democrats and others on the left also accused the president of racism or bigotry for using the term “Chinese virus.”

Despite the backlash, some have defended the president’s decision to use the virus’ place of origin when describing it.

Trump previously drew criticism from CNN’s Jim Acosta for referring to the coronavirus as a “foreign virus.”

Acosta claimed on CNN that the president’s referring to coronavirus as a “foreign virus” came across “to a lot of Americans as smacking of xenophobia.”

Trump’s comment Tuesday about China blaming the spread of the virus on the U.S. military is in response to a conspiracy theory being pushed by Chinese officials that the virus did not originate in Wuhan, or even in China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, posted a video of Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addressing Congress about the virus March 11.

“CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” Zhao Lijian wrote.

“Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” he said.

CNN reported other Chinese state media outlets, including national broadcaster CCTV and the tabloid Global Times, also shared the video on Twitter.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.