MSNBC political analyst and MoveOn.org spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that when President Donald Trump refers to the coronavirus a “Chinese virus,” it is “dangerous,” racism.
Fill-in host John Heilemann asked, “It seems to me that is what has happened here over the last couple of days that President Trump has realized on the basis of the continued falls in the stock market and some of the briefings that suggest how serious the health impacts can be in the United States, he finally came to the realization that happy talk Trump was not working and was not going to bear up to reality. So he shifted now, and he’s shifted to xenophobic wartime Trump. Where he thinks the only path now is to basically declare the virus public enemy number one, paint it in somewhat racist terms, and say we must defeat this virus and try to take the mantle. That I’m like the Douglas MacArthur, the Dwight Eisenhower, or Harry Truman of virus warfare. Trump is now making that pivot. I’m curious whether you see the same thing, number one. And whether you think that is a strategy that has any chance of working when we also see schizophrenic Trump behaving in different ways on Twitter than he does in the White House briefing room.”
Jean-Pierre said, “I wanted to say the xenophobia and racism in the outbreak is such a common thing. We’ve seen it in past health outbreaks we’ve seen in this country’s history. The problem is it’s coming directly from the president of the United States. It is incredibly dangerous. It is problematic, and it is scary. I just want to call that out squarely. You do have people in the Asian-American community whose lives are at risk. For the president to call it a Chinese virus or foreign virus, that’s so dangerous and not a good thing to do obviously.”
“In a public health crisis, you need the president, you need our leaders to be consistent,” Jean-Pierre added. “Donald Trump has not given us consistency. One week it’s a hoax. One week it is a crisis. Then the next week, we have a somber, very focused Donald Trump. Five hours later, he is like a wrecking ball on Twitter. Again, that is dangerous, that is scary, and that is not helpful. Donald Trump has 72 million followers on his Twitter account. Imagine if he used that to share important guidelines from CDC or to give factual information to people who are incredibly worried about what’s happening right now in our country. Instead, he attacks Democratic governors. Instead, he tweets about Hillary Clinton. He talks about ratings on the TV show. Yeah, you could say there’s some sort of political trajectory here. He’s throwing red meat at his base, but this is not the time for that. We need leadership, and he needs to be consistent.”
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