Donald Trump triples down on calling coronavirus ‘the Chinese virus’ in calculated snub after Beijing expels U.S. journalists in fury at use of the term
- President Trump tripled down on calling the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’
- His use of the term comes after Beijing expelled three American journalists from several major news outlets
- ‘I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning,’ he wrote on Twitter
- He’s defended his use of the term
- Trump said Tuesday that he thinks calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’ is appropriate because the disease originated in Wuhan, China
- Trump said that ‘rather than having an argument,’ about where it originated, he would ‘have to call it where it came from’
- ‘It did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term,’ he said
- Chinese officials are floating the conspiracy that those in the U.S. Army brought coronavirus to China during the Military World Games in Wuhan in October 2019
- When asked about the stigma around calling it the ‘Chinese virus,’ Trump said the real ‘stigma is ‘saying that our military gave it to them’
- Beijing condemned Washington for linking the coronavirus with China
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
President Donald Trump on Wednesday tripled down on calling the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’ after Beijing expelled three American journalists from several major news outlets in retaliation for his use of the term.
President Trump has defended his designation of the virus, which was first detected in the Wuhan province of China, saying he would ‘call it where it came from.’
And he used it – twice – on Wednesday in tweets on the disease, which has caused more than 100 deaths in the United States and infected more than 6,500 people
‘I will be having a news conference today to discuss very important news from the FDA concerning the Chinese Virus!,’ the president wrote. He has a press briefing scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET.
‘I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the “borders” from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!,’ he added.
President Trump tripled down on calling the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’ in a series of Wednesday morning tweets
The president appeared to be pushing back at reports his response to the pandemic has taken on a more serious tone in recent days.
Trump has been criticized for minimizing the disease in its early days but told reporters on Tuesday he’s ‘always’ taken it seriously.
‘I’ve always known this is a real – this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,’ he said during a press briefing on the virus.
President Trump’s use of the phrase ‘China virus’ comes as tensions have escalated between Washington and Beijing in the wake of the trade war started by the president and the battle surrounding the origins of the coronavirus.
And China has taken retaliatory measures against the United States. Officials there announced on Tuesday Beijing would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
The United State also has expelled Chinese journalists. Last month, the Trump administration posed limits on the number of Chinese citizens who can work in the U.S. for five state-run Chinese news outlets that are seen as propaganda machines.
The limits by the White House – capping the number of Chinese journalists at 100 – will force about 60 Chinese reporters from the United States.
But Trump’s use of the ‘China virus’ moniker has increased tensions.
After President Trump tweeted on Monday about the ‘China virus,’ Beijing, the next day, demanded ‘the U.S. side correct the mistake immediately and halt its groundless accusations’.
Trump defended his use of the term, saying Tuesday that he doesn’t think it’s inappropriate to call the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’ because that’s where the disease originated.
The president said he only started referring to the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, in that way after Beijing blamed the U.S. military for bringing the disease to its shores.
‘Well China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false,’ Trump said during a briefing in the White House press room. ‘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,’ he continued. ‘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.’
When a reporter said the term ‘Chinese Virus’ has a stigma around it that is seen as racist, Trump pushed back.
‘No, I don’t think so. No,’ he said, flipping the switch: ‘I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.’
Medical workers in protective suits attend to novel coronavirus patients at the intensive care unit (ICU) of a designated hospital in Wuhan, China
Donald Trump said Tuesday that he thinks calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’ is appropriate because the disease originated in Wuhan, China
Trump said that ‘rather than having an argument,’ about where it originated, he would ‘have to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term’
Chinese officials are floating the conspiracy that those in the U.S. Army brought coronavirus to China during the Military World Games in Wuhan in October 2019
When asked about the stigma around calling it the ‘Chinese virus,’ Trump said the real ‘stigma is ‘saying that our military gave it to them’
Chinese officials have floated a conspiracy that the U.S. Army brought coronavirus there when they participated in the Military World Games in Wuhan, China in October 2019.
Trump did not say whether he would continue using the phrase when asked, but just minutes later in a meeting with tourism executives, the president again called it the ‘Chinese virus.’
He said he was talking to the industry leaders about ‘what has happened since the Chinese Virus came about.’
The tweet-for-tat came the day after Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, called China to accuse it of spreading conspiracy theories that the virus was the creation of the U.S. military.
Contrasting conspiracy theories, that it was created by China as a tool for biological warfare, have been aired in pro-Trump circles in the U.S.
And Pompeo himself has called it the Wuhan virus in a series of media appearances, as have fervently pro-Trump Republicans including Tom Cotton, the Arkansas senator, and Paul Gosar, an Arizona congressman who then had to go into self-quarantine over fears he was infected with it.
First hit: Beijing has accused ‘certain American politicians’ of promoting stigmatization by connecting the novel coronavirus with China after President Trump published the post on Twitter
Double down: He posted the next morning that ‘some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus,’ while others are not experiencing as bad a fallout from the outbreak
‘The United States should mind its own business first, and then make constructive contributions to the international counter-epidemic collaboration and the maintenance of the global public health safety,’ said Geng Shuang (pictured), a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry
Geng Shuang, a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused ‘certain American politicians’ of promoting stigmatization by connecting the novel coronavirus with China.
He did not name President Trump specifically, but was referring to one of President Trump’s tweet, reported Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
‘We express strong indignation and resolute opposition to this,’ Geng said at a daily news briefing.
The spokesperson stressed that the coronavirus outbreak had occurred in multiple places around the world and the urgent task was for the international community to join forces to curb the pandemic.
‘The United States should mind its own business first, and then make constructive contributions to the international counter-epidemic collaboration and the maintenance of the global public health safety,’ Geng continued.
Diplomatic feud over crisis: The U.S. and China are clashing over how to describe covid-19, the novel coronavirus first seen in Wuhan, China
Coronavirus fears have gripped the United States with multiple cities going into lock down. Young people wear protective masks while walking through Times Square in NYC on March 5
Anti-US sentiment is also growing in China as people on the country’s Twitter-like Weibo has shown an outpouring of anger towards President Trump.
One person said: ‘Trump is the virus of the world’.
Another typical comment accused: ‘American virus!’
On Monday Pompeo, in a phone call he initiated with top Chinese official Yang Jiechi, voiced anger that Beijing has used official channels ‘to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States,’ the State Department said.
Pompeo ‘stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat,’ the department added.
The State Department on Friday summoned the Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, to denounce Beijing’s promotion of a conspiracy theory that had gained wide attention on social media.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) and Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi (left) shake hands following a press conference in Washington in November 2018
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, in tweets last week in both Mandarin and English, suggested that ‘patient zero’ in the global pandemic may have come from the United States — not the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan.
‘It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation,’ tweeted Zhao, who is known for his provocative statements on social media.
Scientists suspect that the virus first came to humans at a meat market in Wuhan that butchered exotic animals.
Pompeo himself has sought to link China to the global pandemic, repeatedly referring to SARS-CoV-2 as the ‘Wuhan virus’ despite advice from health professionals that such geographic labels can be stigmatizing.
Yang issued a ‘stern warning to the United States that any scheme to smear China will be doomed to fail,’ the official Xinhua news agency said in its summary of the call with Pompeo.
While COVID-19 — the disease caused by the virus – has largely come under control in China, it has killed more than 7,000 people around the world and severely disrupted daily life in Western countries.
The news comes as China tries to deflect blame for the contagion and reframe itself as a country that took decisive steps to buy the world time by placing huge swathes of its population under quarantine.
China built a 1,000-bed coronavirus hospital in 10 days in Wuhan to curb the epidemic. The picture shows Huoshenshan Hospital nearly complete on the outskirts of Wuhan on February 3
China admitted the coronavirus originated in Wuhan in January
A woman walks in front of the closed Huanan wholesale seafood market on January 12
The push to question the origin of the disease contradicts China’s own initial assessment about the source of the virus, which has now killed more than 7,000 people worldwide.
Gao Fu, head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in January ‘we now know the source of the virus is wild animals sold at the seafood market’ in Wuhan.
Chinese authorities themselves saw Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province as a threat as they placed the region of 56 million people under strict quarantine to contain the epidemic.
But Beijing began sowing doubts in late February, when Zhong Nanshan, a respected expert affiliated with the National Health Commission, told reporters ‘the epidemic first appeared in China, but didn’t necessarily originate in China’.
Scientists, however, have long suspected that the virus jumped from an animal at the Wuhan market to a human before spreading globally.
The World Health Organization has said that while the exact path the virus took between its animal source and humans is still unclear, COVID-19 was ‘unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019’.
Christl Donnelly, a professor of statistical epidemiology at Imperial College London, said genetic analysis of coronavirus samples collected from around the world showed a common ancestor in China.
‘This is not in any way blaming a particular country,’ she told AFP.
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