ABC, PBS Team Up to Call Trump ‘Racist’ During COVID-19 Presser

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During Wednesday’s coronavirus press conference at the White House, ABC’s Cecilia Vega and PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor worked together to claim that President Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” was “racist” and “puts Asian Americans at risk.” Alcindor even touted rumors of an unknown administration official using an offensive term to describe the disease.

“Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus? There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country....Why do you keep using this?,” Vega asked accusingly as the President took questions in the 12:00 p.m. ET hour. After Trump explained, “Because it comes from China,” Vega declared: “A lot of people say it’s racist.”

 

 

The President rejected her assertion: “It’s not racist at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”

The ABC White House correspondent maintained Trump was endangering people by using the phrase: “You have no concerns about Chinese Americans in this country?” She even attempted to recruit other administration officials in the room to attack the President: “To the aides behind you, are you comfortable with this term?”

Trump explained that his use of the phrase was designed to hold China’s authoritarian regime accountable for not being honest about the initial spread of coronavirus:

I have great love for all of the people from our country. But as you know, China tried to say at one point, maybe they stopped now, that it was caused by American soldiers, that can’t happen. It’s not gonna happen, not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.

Minutes later, Vega again berated the President: “Do you believe that China is inflicting this upon our country?” Trump calmly replied: “No, I don’t believe they’re inflicting it. I think they could have given us a lot earlier notice, absolutely.”

Trying to assist her liberal media colleague as the presser wound down, PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor pushed an unsubstantiated accusation against a supposed anonymous administration official: “There are some – at least one White House official who used the term ‘Kung Flu,’ referring to the fact that virus started in China. Is that acceptable? Is it wrong?”

The President asked the obvious question: “I wonder who said that. Do you know who said that?” Alcindor then admitted: “I’m not sure of the person’s name.” If she doesn’t even know who allegedly used the term, how does she know the remark even happened?

Despite that, she remained undeterred in her biased line of questioning:

A person at the White House used the term “Kung Flu.” My question is, do you think that’s wrong?...And do you think using the term “Chinese virus,” that puts Asian Americans at risk, that people might target them?

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, an unidentified reporter similarly worried that Trump was creating a “stigma” around the illness by calling it a “Chinese virus.”

Beyond Vega and Alcindor, Wednesday’s press conference had several other instances of shoddy journalism as reporters repeatedly insisted that the President had no “credibility” to manage the crisis.

Here is a transcript of the March 18 questions from both reporters:

12:30 PM ET

(...)

CECILIA VEGA:  Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus? There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country. Your own aide, Secretary Azar, says he does not use this term because ethnicity does not cause the virus. Why do you keep using this?

DONALD TRUMP: Because it comes from China.

VEGA: A lot of people say it’s racist.

TRUMP : It’s not racist at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.

VEGA: You have no concerns about Chinese Americans in this country? To the aides behind you, are you comfortable with this term?  

TRUMP: I have great love for all of the people from our country. But as you know, China tried to say at one point, maybe they stopped now, that it was caused by American soldiers, that can’t happen. It’s not gonna happen, not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.

(...)

12:55 PM ET

VEGA: You didn’t correct the language, so I wonder if you agree with it, do you believe that China is inflicting this upon our country?

TRUMP: No, I don’t believe they’re inflicting it. I think they could have given us a lot earlier notice, absolutely.

(...)

1:02 PM ET

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: There are some – at least one White House official who used the term “Kung Flu,” referring to the fact that virus started in China. Is that acceptable? Is it wrong? Are you worried that having this virus be talked about as a Chinese virus, that that might –

TRUMP: I wonder who said that. Do you know who said that?

ALCINDOR: I’m not sure of the person’s name. But would you condemn the fact –

TRUMP: Say the term again.

ALCINDOR: The “Kung Flu.” A person at the White House used the term “Kung Flu.” My question is, do you think that’s wrong?

TRUMP: “Kung Flu”?

ALCINDOR: “Kung Flu.” And do you think using the term “Chinese virus,” that puts Asian Americans at risk, that people might target them?

TRUMP: No, not at all. I think they would probably agree with a hundred percent. It comes from China.

(...)

NB Daily China Health Care Coronavirus Conservatives & Republicans ABC PBS Video White House Press Briefing Cecilia Vega Yamiche Alcindor Donald Trump

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