Trump tweets about coronavirus using term 'Chinese virus'

President Trump drew backlash Monday night after posting a tweet using the phrase “Chinese Virus.”

After giving an address Monday afternoon in which he said that the country “may be” headed toward recession and urged social distancing, he later tweeted his confidence in and support for various sectors, while including the offensive remark.

“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!,” he wrote.

Many officials, including the Center for Disease Control and Protection chief, have criticized the phrase as both inaccurate and potentially harmful in tying racist associations between the virus and those from China.

The comments prompted massive backlash from many social media users, including New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who pointed out how the tweet is misplacing blame and could put more Asian Americans in danger.

Trump has previously referred to COVID-19 as a “foreign virus” and has also retweeted a supporter who used the term “China Virus.” His newest reference comes days after CDC director Robert Redfield agreed when questioned at a House hearing that it was "absolutely wrong and inappropriate" to use labels like “Chinese coronavirus” as the virus had now expanded beyond China to other parts of the world. The are currently roughly 3500 confirmed cases of the illness in the U.S. alone as of Monday night.

Many others have condemned the practice of identifying the illness by location or ethnicity, including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, which called on their fellow legislators to to “help us prevent hysteria, ignorant attacks, and racist assaults that have been fueled by misinformation pertaining to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” by only sharing confirmed and verifiable information.

While some, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., publicly condemned the racism tied to the pandemic, others House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy have continued to use the offensive language, pointing to outlets that have used similar wording.

The Asian American Journalists Association previously released guidelines for responsible reporting in February to curb against “fueling xenophobia and racism that have already emerged since the outbreak.”

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., previously told NBC News that it's possible that several GOP legislators have continued to use the rhetoric as a possible tactic to distract from Trump's handling of the pandemic. She said it's likely officials are using China or Asian Americans as scapegoats “versus actually dealing with the problem at hand.”

Along with the virus’ spread, there has been an increase in racist incidents and discrimination targeting Asian Americans. Two Hmong guests endured harassment and were later barred from staying at first a Super 8 and then a Days Inn in Indiana. In a separate incident, an Asian teen in California was bullied, assaulted, and sent to the emergency due to fears surrounding the pandemic.

DeBlasio held a media roundtable on Wednesday to publicly condemn coronavirus-related discrimination against Asian communities in NYC.

“Right now, we've seen particularly troubling instances of discrimination directed at Asian communities, particularly in Chinese community,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”

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