An enterprising Washington Post photographer captured a startling image of President Donald Trump‘s altered news conference script Thursday showing what appeared to be his own handwritten change from “corona” to “Chinese” to form “Chinese virus.”
It appeared he used his favourite reality-altering tool: a black Sharpie.
Photographer Jabin Botsford posted the close-up on Twitter amid raging criticism of Trump over his repeated insistence this week on incorrectly calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Critics have slammed the implied racism of his tactic, which they say is aimed at blaming a nation and a race of people for the pandemic to distract the American public from the dangerous failings of his own administration to battle the virus.
Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out “Corona” and replaced it with “Chinese” Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump#trumpnotespic.twitter.com/kVw9yrPPeJ
— Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford) March 19, 2020
It’s not accurate. Trump’s own top health advisers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield have said it is inappropriate and inaccurate to label the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”
The correct term is coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19. Those are the terms international scientists, the World Health Organization, US health officials, physicians and much of the general public use.
Representative Ted Lieu, in an opinion article in The Washington Post on Wednesday, slammed Trump for “stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis” and shrugging off blame instead of doing his job to help Americans survive the pandemic.
Dear @WhiteHouse: This virus has an official name, Covid-19 and an unofficial name, Coronavirus. Your language will cause more discrimination against Asian Americans.
What would help is if you can get hospitals & first responders much more test kits & protective equipment. https://t.co/BrMvEjABfO
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 18, 2020
Trump complained on Thursday that China “could have given us a lot earlier notice” about the spread of the disease there, which began in early December. Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization on December 31. It wasn’t until this week that Trump first pledged to ramp up testing in the US, which remains far behind other nations and the current demand.
Trump actually thanked the Chinese in January for their efforts against the illness and for their “transparency.”
Words matter!@hrw found COVID19 motivated anti-Asian hate crimes including physical attacks & beatings, violent bullying in schools, angry threats & discrimination in workplaces.
Instead of warning against that, our president is stoking those fireshttps://t.co/YVujtDgQJF
— Akshaya Kumar (@AkshayaSays) March 19, 2020
Perhaps it’s now time for someone to use a Sharpie to cross that out and write ‘Trump’.#TrumpVirus
Trump’s exceptional incompetence is making this pandemic far worse.
— Steve Herzfeld ? (@american2084) March 19, 2020
Funny how he was calling it #coronavirus back in January and was very complimentary of the Chinese government, but now calls it “Chinese virus” because he thinks the racist dogwhistle will get him donations from his racist base. pic.twitter.com/zCxRyaHPgH
— Bread & Circuses ?? ? (@FeasterFamine) March 19, 2020