Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum grilled Biden adviser Symone Sanders on Wednesday night for falsely claiming that referring to the coronavirus by a name that signifies that it came from China is a “racial slur.”
“A leader has to lead from the front, and so what President Trump came out and some of what he announced today was good, but the reality is he also stood at the podium and called the coronavirus, COVID-19, what I would suggest is a racial slur. It’s something that that is offensive—” Sanders began.
“Why? Why is that?” MacCallum pressed. “Why would it be, to call it a Chinese virus when it originated in China? Why is that a problem?”
Sanders responded, “It is something that is offensive to many Americans and so that reality is, instead of name calling, instead of pointing fingers, instead of talking about poll numbers, let’s just talk about what we can get done.”
“Let’s be serious for a second here,” MaCallum fired back. “You know, the MERS virus is M E R S. Do you know why it’s called MERS? Why is it called MERS, that virus?”
“You tell me, Martha,” Sanders responded. “You brought it up.”
Fox News' Martha MacCallum calls out Biden senior advisor Symone Sanders for trying to score political points on the coronavirus: “let’s be serious" pic.twitter.com/N1huVInB2m
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 19, 2020
“Because it’s called the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome because that’s where it originated,” MacCallum correctly noted. “So, this idea, this sort of rabbit hole of getting into this whole issue of racism, I just think is so counterproductive to what we’re trying to do here, and I just talked to an amazing scholar on China moments ago who said absolutely, China at the leadership level has tried to obfuscate, and be everything but transparent. Since the very beginning, they lied and lied and lied about this situation.”
“This is not about whether China has been forthright and forthcoming,” Sanders said.
“Yes it is, that’s exactly what this is about,” MacCallum interjected.
“The reality is, the Chinese government denied – the reality, not, not in terms of what the president of the United States is referring to this virus from the podium,” Sanders continued. “The reality is yes, the Chinese government refused to let American citizens in to research, to see what was going on. That is stark difference in what happened in the Ebola crisis when the United States demanded to come in to African countries, and so that is something we should have and have to continue to push for, but my only point is and I think the point of folks across the country who have raised an alarm or a question about this are concerned, is that they have noticed that it is offensive to them and in times of strife, particularly when we are dealing with a pandemic that is currently affecting people that have had no contact with anyone overseas—”
“No one is suggesting that American Chinese people are responsible,” MacCallum fired back. “Every thinking human being who looks at this understands that the reference is to the origin of the virus and also the leadership in terms of how that virus was handled in the country of origin.”