He also noted that the disease has different names.
“If you could have heard the reports, the reports, oh, it’s COVID — it’s a disease without question that has more names than any disease in history,” the president said.
“I can name Kung Flu. I can name 19 different versions of names.”
“Many call it a virus which it is. Many call it a flu. I think we have 19 or 20 versions of the name,” he continued.
Those close to Trump have apparently used similar terminology in the past. In May, CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang, who is of Asian descent, said that a White House official referred to the virus as “Kung Flu” while speaking to her. Later, during a White House press conference, Jiang got into a heated exchange with the president.
The reporter asked Trump to explain why he views the coronavirus pandemic as a “global race.” The president replied that she should pose that question to the Chinese government, which led to accusations of racism.
At the rally, Trump also discussed testing for coronavirus, suggesting that it inflates the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States. The president described testing as a “double-edged sword,” revealing that he instructed members of his team to slow down.
“I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please,’” the commander-in-chief said.
Trump has previously argued that widespread testing makes the situation in the United States seem worse than it is. During a press conference earlier this week, he suggested that testing is to blame for the increase in the number of infections and hospitalizations.
“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” the president said, acknowledging that there are “hot spots” across the country.
In agreement with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence said that the United States is successfully handling the pandemic.
Trump on coronavirus, which has now killed 121,000 Americans: "I have done a phenomenal job on it." pic.twitter.com/SkX9NS7PLA— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 21, 2020
The Tulsa event is Trump’s first rally since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. The president and his team apparently expected a massive turnout and a packed arena, but the crowd seems to be far from record-breaking. As NPR reported, Trump and Pence even had to cancel their scheduled speeches outside the arena.
According to the president’s campaign, Black Lives Matter protesters are to blame for the underwhelming turnout. In a statement, the campaign said that protesters “prevented” Trump supporters from attending the rally.