President Donald Trump is refusing to back down from labeling the coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus,’ even beginning a press conference by using the phrase today.
Actress Lana Condor isn’t having it.
Trump has placed the blame for the coronavirus pandemic on China, where the first outbreak originated. And it’s having harmful impacts on Asian-Americans, with reports of hate crimes and discrimination. One New York man spoke out this week after he was heckled for being Chinese, according to the New York Post.
Asian-Americans like CNN reporter MJ Lee and now Condor are calling out Trump for the harmful phrase.
“You have no idea the ramifications your racist words and actions have on the Asian-American community,” Condor wrote in a note she screenshotted. “You simply cannot even fathom the danger you are putting our community in. How dare you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself a leader? You know what leaders do? They LEAD by setting good examples and ACTION. Something we’ve yet to see you do.”
When asked why he continues to use the phrase in a press conference on Wednesday, Trump said “I have to” because China started it. He also said China was blaming the spread on American soldiers who brought the virus to China.
“I have to call it where it came from,” Trump said. “It comes from China so I think it is a very accurate term.”
Condor noted the efforts from Chinese people like billionaire Jack Ma that are directly helping Americans. He donated equipment to help prevention in the U.S. and Africa.
“You need to take notes on Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who is ACTUALLY leading — by donating tests and millions of masks to AMERICA because you haven’t,” Condor continued in the tweet. “Please. Be Better. So we aren’t afraid to leave our house in fear someone will verbally or physically abuse us because of your xenophobia.”
The World Health Organization backs Condors claims. They published a thread that explained the harm caused by labeling COVID-19 with ethnicity.
“Since the emergence of #COVID19 we have seen instances of public stigmatization among specific populations and the rise of harmful stereotypes,” @WHO tweeted.
And they are not alone. Asian American public officials and figures, among other allies, have criticized the president’s racist categorization of the disease.
“To be clear, language like ‘Chinese virus’ is racist, and it fuels racism in what is already a painful time for so many Americans,” Lee wrote in a thread. She asked Trump directly why he continued to use the phrase. “It suggests that if you look Asian — even if you are Asian American — you are an “other” to be blamed. It is divisive and toxic.”
“Look at him deliberately calling it the Chinese Virus. Very deliberate. Very racist. The virus actually has a name Covid19,” writer Ellen Oh tweeted. “Use the name. Don’t endanger the lives of all Asian Americans. Because in times of fear, people look for someone to blame. Like he is doing right now.”
“Stop saying ‘Chinese Virus.’ It’s racist and inaccurate. COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 are the terms to use,” Author Mike McHargue said in response to another tweet where Trump uses the phrase.
The incident happened on the subway in New York City. No one was hurt.