Coronavirus: George Takei asks Twitter followers to report Trump for racism after he calls it 'Chinese Virus'
Takei, a vocal critic of the president, slammed Trump's tweet, which he said was racially-charged and "not acceptable"
'Star Trek' actor George Takei called on his 2.9 million followers on Twitter to report Donald Trump for racism after the president called the novel coronavirus the "Chinese virus" in one of his tweets.
The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has now infected more than 185,000 people worldwide and caused 7,300 deaths. While it was originally referred to as the Wuhan coronavirus, WHO officials announced last month that its official name would be severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Most media outlets have since begun using the official name of the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, though that did not stop Trump from branding it as the "Chinese virus" in a tweet where he promised to help the country's industries during these trying times.
"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.
Takei, a vocal critic of the president, immediately slammed the tweet, which he said was racially-charged and "not acceptable," and asked his followers to report Trump to Twitter. "Do me a favor and report this tweet," he posted. "Trump is stoking racism. @jack may not do anything, but people should let @Twitter know it’s not acceptable."
"I'm an ER Doc and don’t claim to be an infectious disease expert, but looking into the data I’ve found insufficient evidence to support racism as an effective antiviral," one user wrote in the comments.
"Chinese virus?!?" another wrote. "Now you're adding racist hysteria to an already dire situation??? In times like this, we need a sane, steady hand at the wheel, and that ain't you. So why don't you just STFU if you can't say anything useful?"
It's not just those on the left who seemed to have taken offense to his latest tweet either. Evangelical preacher Eugene Cho said Trump branding the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" could be dangerous.
Cho, a former pastor of a Seattle church who still lives in the city, one of the epicenters of the outbreak in the U.S., tweeted, "Mr. President: This is not acceptable. Calling it the "Chinese virus" only instigates blame, racism, and hatred against Asians - here and abroad."
"We need leadership that speaks clearly against racism; Leadership that brings the nation and world together. Not further divides."
The U.S. has reported more than 4,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 85 deaths at the time of writing.