President Trump on Tuesday further angered China by referring to COVID-19, which has killed more than 7,000 people worldwide, as the “China virus,” despite being asked repeatedly to stop.
Trump said during a national televised press conference that he is using the phrase as a response to China spreading conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus.
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“Rather than having an argument, I said, I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China,” he said.
“Rather than having an argument, I said, I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China.”
On Monday, Trump tweeted: “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 used the phrase again Tuesday morning when tweeting about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Ironically, Trump’s tweet criticized Cuomo for trying to politicize the coronavirus.
“Cuomo wants “all states to be treated the same.” But all states aren’t the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big “hotspot,” West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases. Andrew, keep politics out of it….”
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The United States currently has 5,068 confirmed coronavirus cases, stretching across 49 states and the District of Columbia. There have been 91 U.S. deaths linked to the virus so far, with Washington state at the top of the list with 48 deaths, followed by New York and California.
In China, there have been 81,058 cases reported. Their death toll stands at 3,230.
China has been widely accused of suppressing vital facts about the virus, including when it surfaced and how quickly it spread.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has upped his rhetoric about the virus and accused Trump of deliberately trying to “smear” China’s reputation, demanding the U.S. find better a better way to refer to COVID-19.
“Some politicians in the U.S. associated the coronavirus with China, and smeared China. China expresses its strong anger and opposition to that,” he said. “We call on the U.S. to stop finger-pointing at China. The utmost priority is for the international community to cooperate on fighting the virus.”
“We call on the U.S. to top finger pointing at China.”
He wrapped up his comments by telling the U.S. to butt out of China’s business.
“The U.S. should focus on its top priority, and play a constructive role in international cooperation on health security,” he said.
The coronavirus was first reported late last year in Wuhan, China, and has now spread to more than 130 countries.
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Last week. Chinese officials came after people like Secretary of States Mike Pompeo, who deliberately referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” after China’s foreign ministry called it “highly irresponsible” to do so. Other Republicans who came under scrutiny include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
China has spread rumors that a U.S. military member might have smuggled the virus into Wuhan.