President Donald Trump is voicing his support for the Asian American community amid the coronavirus pandemic, During his daily briefing on Monday, the president said it was "important we totally protect our Asian-American community," and, unlike in his recent briefings, he refrained from referring to the virus as "the Chinese Virus."
After opening up the briefing for remarks and comments from reporters, Trump glossed over a question regarding how his use of the term "the Chinese Virus" may have contributed to the bigotry the Asian American community is currently facing. He did, however, acknowledge that the community may be facing bias.
"It seems that there could be a little bit of nasty language toward the Asian Americans in our country, and I don't like that at all," he said, according to The Hill.
Just hours earlier, Trump had again expressed his support for the community, saying in a tweet that the spread of the virus is not the fault of Asian Americans.
"It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form," Trump tweeted. "They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!"
In recent weeks, the president has faced fierce backlash for his rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus. Calling it "the invisible enemy" and "the invisible scourge," Trump has also referred to the virus as "the Chinese Virus" on numerous occasions in both his daily briefings and in social media posts.
The term has been slammed as racist by many, though speaking last week, Trump defended its use.
"Because it comes from China. It's not racist at all, no, not at all. It comes from China, that's why. I want to be accurate," he said when questioned by a reporter. "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. That can't happen. It's not gonna happen, not as long as I'm President. It comes from China."
The controversy even prompted the White House to issue a statement, in which they related the term to the common names of other illnesses.
"Spanish Flu. West Nile Virus. Zika. Ebola. All named for places," the statement read. "Before the media's fake outrage, even CNN called it 'Chinese Coronavirus.' Those trying to divide us must stop rooting for America to fail and give Americans real info they need to get through the crisis."0comments
The usage of such terms have been warned against by a number of health professionals and organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), which has advised people to refrain from attaching "locations or ethnicity to the disease," as doing so "can perpetuate negative stereotypes or assumptions, strengthen false associations between [COVID-19] & other factors, create widespread fear, or dehumanise those who have the disease."
Across the country, Asian Americans have faced discrimination as well as verbal and physical attacks, with San Francisco State University finding a 50 percent rise in the number of news articles related to the coronavirus and anti-Asian discrimination, according to The New York Times.