Reporter Frets Over ‘Stigma’ of Trump Saying ‘Chinese Virus’

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During Tuesday’s White House press briefing from the Coronavirus Task Force, a reporter fretted that President Trump using the phrase “Chinese virus” in a tweet was creating a “stigma” about the disease. In response, the President reminded the media that China chose to spread lies and conspiracy theories in an effort to cover-up the extent of the virus in the early days.

“China and others have criticized you for using the phrase ‘Chinese virus.’ How do you feel about that, are you going to continue using that phrase?,” the unidentified reporter worried. Trump pushed back:

 

 

Well, China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. 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. But no, 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.

The journalist then pressed: “Critics say using that phrase creates a stigma.”

The President rejected the argument: “No, I don’t think so. No, I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”

Late Monday night, NBCNews.com decried Trump’s use of the “offensive remark” and touted a parade of liberal critics accusing the President and other Republicans of “racism.”

Before the phrase was deemed racist, the media had no trouble routinely using terms like “Wuhan” or “Chinese coronavirus” to discuss the pandemic.

As the presser ended Tuesday afternoon, the Chinese government announced it would be banning all American journalists working for The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, among others. Maybe reporters should think twice before rushing to promote the authoritarian regime’s messaging concerns about the coronavirus.

Here is a transcript of the March 17 press conference exchange:

12:51 PM ET

(...)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: China and others have criticized you for using the phrase “Chinese virus.” How do you feel about that, are you going to continue using that phrase?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. 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. But no, 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.

REPORTER: Critics say using that phrase creates a stigma.

TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. No, I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.

(...)

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