President Trump has not backed away from his use of the term “Chinese Virus” in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, even as his critics denounce the term as racist.
During his press conference on Wednesday morning, a reporter asked President Trump if the term “Chinese Virus” was racist, to which the president replied: “It’s from China. It’s not racist at all, no. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”
As reported by CNN, President Trump added that he condemns the lies that China has spread in response to COVID-19.
“I have great love for all of the people from our country, but as you know China tried to say at one point … that it was caused by American soldiers,” said the president. “That can’t happen, it’s not gonna happen, not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.”
"Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?"
President Trump: "Because it comes from China." pic.twitter.com/HfmAtTUzny
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 18, 2020
Earlier on Wednesday morning, the president denounced the fake news and false narratives about the handling of COVID-19, asserting he always treated the “Chinese Virus” seriously.
“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,” the president tweeted. “Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!”
“I will be having a news conference today to discuss very important news from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] concerning the Chinese Virus!” he later added.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
As The Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro argued, the term “Chinese Virus” is not only accurate but necessary:
Make no mistake: The Chinese government is chiefly responsible for the explosion of this pandemic. The so-called wet markets of China — the meat markets that often include wild animals ranging from snakes to pangolins — exist for a variety of reasons, ranging from price to superstitious belief in medicinal properties of exotic animals.
Whatever the rationale, the communist Chinese government has been exceedingly tolerant of such markets, even though they have now been responsible for the spread of coronavirus, SARS, bird flu, Asian flu and swine fever.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government acted early to shut down the spread of information about the coronavirus, which paved the way for freedom of travel by carriers of the disease. When ophthalmologist Li Wenliang told fellow doctors about coronavirus in an online chat room in December, he was forced to swear by the Chinese government that he had been making “untrue statements.” He ended up dying of the disease.
Regarding the president’s seriousness in response to COVID-19, his critics have hit him on two fronts: delayed testing and supposedly dissolving the White House pandemic response team.
On the issue of delayed testing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has already said that neither President Trump nor the CDC were responsible for the delayed testing of COVID-19, alleging it resulted from a “technical glitch” out of the president’s control.
“It was a complicated series of multiple things that conflated that just, you know, went the wrong way. One of them was a technical glitch that slowed things down in the beginning. Nobody’s fault. There weren’t any bad guys there. It just happened,” Fauci told Hugh Hewitt on “The Hugh Hewitt” show.
“Was the glitch or anything about the production of the test President Trump’s fault?” Hewitt asked, as reported by The Hill. “Or actually, let me put it more broadly, would every president have run into the same problem?”
“Oh, absolutely,” Fauci replied. “This has nothing to do with anybody’s fault, certainly not the president’s fault.”
Regarding the supposed dissolution of the White House pandemic team, Tim Morrison a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the National Security Council, wrote a lengthy piece in The Washington Post debunking this argument. As it turns out, the president did not dissolve the pandemic team and only “streamlined” it:
It is true that the Trump administration has seen fit to shrink the NSC staff. But the bloat that occurred under the previous administration clearly needed a correction. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, congressional oversight committees and members of the Obama administration itself all agreed the NSC was too large and too operationally focused (a departure from its traditional role coordinating executive branch activity). As The Post reported in 2015, from the Clinton administration to the Obama administration’s second term, the NSC’s staff “had quadrupled in size, to nearly 400 people.” That is why Trump began streamlining the NSC staff in 2017.