Trump once again refers to the coronavirus as ‘Kung flu’

President TrumpDonald John Trump South Korea criticizes Bolton’s book as ‘distorting reality’ of nuclear talks Democrats face tough questions with Bolton protesters trying to tear down Andrew Jackson statue near White House MORE He referred to the coronavirus as the “kung flu” Tuesday during his address to youth in Phoenix, despite previous criticism that the phrase is racist.

The president used the term “kung flu” when speaking to conservative group Turning Point Action students, days after saying it in his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

The first reported outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, was in Wuhan, China, and Trump’s nickname is a riff on kung fu, a name for Chinese martial arts.

“I said the other night, there has never been anything where they have so many names,” Trump said, referring to his event in Tulsa, which was his first campaign rally since the pandemic closed much of the country. “I could give you 19 or 20 names for that, right? It has all different names.

The president then listed several names for the disease, including the coronavirus, the “Wuhan” virus, and “the Chinese virus.” When Trump said “kung flu,” the crowd responded with cheers.

Trump then questioned “what is 19” at COVID-19, saying that “some people cannot explain what 19 is.”

The name COVID-19 refers to the fact that the disease arose in 2019.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s use of the “kung flu” in his demonstration, saying in a briefing on Monday that the president was referring to the virus by “its place of origin.” He denied that the president used racist phrases and said he did not believe the phrase was offensive.

The use of the term by the president comes after the White House adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth Conway White House defends Trump’s use of the term as non-racist Lincoln Project launches new ad hitting Trump about participation in rally Lincoln Project releases new ad hitting Trump on China’s policies MORE criticized reports of a White House official calling the virus the “kung flu.” Conway called the reports “very offensive” and asked a CBS News reporter to name the official during a briefing.

Trump has previously been criticized for calling the coronavirus the “Wuhan virus” and the “Chinese virus,” and officials have defended it, saying the terms had been used by the media in the early days of the pandemic.