During a Tuesday press conference on the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump was asked about his usage of the phrase “Chinese virus” to describe the disease. As reported by Breitbart, Trump defended his use of the expression, which has sparked accusations of racism.
“Well China was putting out information which was false, that our military gave this to them, that was false,” he said of his tweet that used the term.
Trump is referring to suggestions from the East Asian country that COVID-19 came from the United States military. According to the president, he began using the term to remind the world that the coronavirus originated in China amid the country’s recent accusations.
“I have to call it where it came from, it did come from China, so I think it’s a very accurate term,” he said.
The president also denied that he was creating a “stigma” by using the term.
“No I don’t think so,” he said when asked about the possibility.
“I think that saying our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”
The Chinese Virus!— ACT for America (@ACTforAmerica) March 17, 2020
TRUMP: I Did Not Appreciate the Fact that China Was Saying "Our Military Gave It to Them" pic.twitter.com/07iehuhDcO
As reported by Business Insider, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijia said on Twitter last week that the U.S. army brought the coronavirus to Wuhan and demanded an explanation from America. In response, the Department of Defense issued a statement that shot down Lijia’s claims and slammed the Chinese government for allegedly spreading “absurd conspiracy theories” about the origin of the virus.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
In response to Trump’s label, The Guardian reported that China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang suggested that he should focus on dealing with the problems in his country amid the pandemic as opposed to China.
“Some US politicians have tried to stigmatise China … which China strongly condemns,” he said during a Tuesday press briefing.
“We urge the US to stop this despicable practice. We are very angry and strongly oppose it [the tweet].”
Critics of Trump’s use of the term believe he is fueling xenophobia and creating an unneeded stigma around the virus. Conversely, Trump claimed that saying the U.S. military spread the virus creates a stigma of its own.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., took aim at the media last week for purportedly taking China’s word amid the coronavirus pandemic. He noted that China refused help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and suggested that the country would never be “honest dealers.”