Trump’s use of the “kung flu” is his latest effort to stoke xenophobia

At a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend, President Donald Trump used the term “kung flu” to describe the coronavirus, one of several racist statements he made during a wide-ranging speech that addressed the handling of the pandemic by your administration.

“By the way, it is a disease, without a doubt, [that] it has more names than any disease in history, “Trump said at the time.” I can name the kung flu, I can name 19 different versions of names. “

Since then, Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, has defended his use of the term. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not promised: When asked how he and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, felt about Trump’s comments, McConnell declined to say whether he He was comfortable with the president’s rhetoric, suggesting that the question should be directed to Chao, who emigrated from Taiwan to the United States as a child.

McEnany’s defense of Trump is the same flimsy he has been using since he began calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus”: He argued that those names simply associate the disease with its “place of origin,” an effort that even if made in good condition Faith goes against the guidelines of the World Health Organization that warn against promoting labels that could stigmatize an entire region.

“The president does not think it is offensive to note that the virus came from China,” McEnany said during a briefing on Monday.

Trump’s use of the “Chinese virus” or “kung flu,” of course, is not in good faith and is about taking advantage of the same racism and xenophobia that he has amplified in countless comments he has made about people of color. As reported by José Del Real of the Washington Post, Trump made several other racist statements during his comments in Tulsa: in his speech, he described racial justice protesters as “thugs” and used a scenario involving a “tough man” to illustrate the threat to remove the police.

These statements, as well as references to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and multiple African nations as “shit countries,” are among the racist comments he has used in campaign rallies and presidential comments for the past four years.

As the country acknowledges systemic racism and police brutality, Trump seems as eager as ever to fan racial divisions, using rhetoric that contradicts his March claims of wanting to “protect” Asian Americans and contributes directly to hate incidents. against members of this group.

Trump still uses racist terms to describe the coronavirus as Asian Americans continue to report hate incidents

Trump’s decision to go with racist rhetoric, including terminology that his own adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has condemned in the past, comes as Asian Americans continue to report hate incidents such as verbal abuse, physical assault, and harm to the ownership during the pandemic. As the coronavirus spread across the globe, tropes that treat Asians as perpetual aliens have also resurfaced, fueling racist and hostile anti-Asian sentiment.

Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that has been tracking hostile self-reported anti-Asian incidents since late March, says it has received more than 2,100 reports since the project began. Such incidents have included cases of employees being rejected at the workplace, families being spat on at fast food restaurants, and children being beaten by their classmates. The group says it saw a spike in reports after Trump began using rhetoric as the “Chinese virus” and noted that many “anti-China” comments were frequently associated with verbal and physical assaults.

“A white man walked past me and said, ‘You Chinese king spread the Coronavirus to this country, everyone should leave this country!'” Read an incident report.

“A woman sitting at a bus stop was yelling at me and other Asians she saw walking,” read another. “She said we were ‘dirty Chinese’, that we were trying to take over the United States.”

Investigators also emphasize that Trump’s rhetoric has mattered in the past: A Kimmy Yam NBC News report points to a February study, which found that Trump’s racist comments against Latin Americans “emboldened” others who had similar views. to express them.

Trump’s continued use of racist statements about the coronavirus, ultimately trying to deflect blame by pointing out that he is foreign-born, comes as he struggles to deal with the consequences of his own handling of the pandemic – most recently it was criticized for saying it aims to slow down coronavirus testing because doing so would reveal fewer cases.

“President Trump continues to use the views of white and nationalist supremacy as a means of scapegoating his failures for political gain,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asia Pacific Policy and Planning Council, in a release. “Unless we hold it accountable, discrimination and harassment against Asian Americans will take deep root, cause unimaginable harm and suffering, and take decades to relax.”

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