Donald Trump calls COVID-19 the 'Chinese virus' for third time as he ramps attack on Beijing for blaming US Army

Washington and Beijing trained guns at each other over who started the pandemic after the latter claimed it was the American military that was responsible for the outbreak in Wuhan


                            Donald Trump calls COVID-19 the 'Chinese virus' for third time as he ramps attack on Beijing for blaming US Army
Donald Trump (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump recently referred to coronavirus as “Chinese” and was subjected to a major backlash. However, he remained obdurate and said on Tuesday, March 17, that he didn’t do anything inappropriate by identifying the deadly virus with China where it is believed to have originated from. China has seen over 80,000 people getting affected by the deadly virus and has suffered the death of about 3,000-plus people.

In the US, too, the number of cases has been rising fast with over 6,000 getting affected and 115 lives lost. Worldwide, more people are now affected (nearly 0.2 million) outside to China than inside.

At a press briefing a day after he tweeted coronavirus as “Chinese”, Trump said he started referring to the virus as something related to the Asian power after Beijing blamed the American military for bringing it to China during the Military World Games in October, last year. In his tweet, Trump said, “ 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!”

His tweet not only faced criticism inside the US but also from China which said Washington should mind its own business and not blame Beijing. The two economic powers are in the middle of a trade war and the latest exchanges over coronavirus showed that things are still very sensitive between them.

A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China (Getty Images)

The earlier cases of COVID-19 were recorded in China’s major city of Wuhan in late last year. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson floated a conspiracy theory last week saying it was the US Army that brought the disease to the region. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also hit out at China asking it to stop spreading “disinformation”. 

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Well China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China.”

“So I think it’s a very accurate term,” Trump asserted, before adding: “But, no, I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody.”
 
When Trump was asked about the term “Chinese Virus” and that it has a stigma around it, he said that he didn’t agree. To the contrary, he said, “I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”

Trump continues to call it 'Chinese Virus'

Trump did not say at the press meet whether he would continue to use the phrase whenever asked but the moment was not far. Minutes later after the press meet, Trump uttered the phrase “Chinese Virus” while speaking with tourism executives as well. He said he told the industry leaders about “what has happened since the Chinese Virus came about”. 

In fact, Trump used the term on another occasion on Tuesday as well after China warned him to not blame it for the outbreak. In a tweet, the president mentioned New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who has demanded the military to chip in to respond to the coronavirus threat. He said, “Cuomo wants 'all states to be treated the same. But all states aren't the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all.”

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