Guest host and network political analyst John Heilemann said when President Donald Trump calls the coronavirus a “Chinese virus,” it is nakedly, obviously and blatantly “racist.”
Heilemann said,”Trump is not just waging war here, in his formulation, not just waging war against a virus, he’s waging war against a Chinese virus. Let’s take a listen to how he talked about this today. To a greater degree than he has in the past, he put that kind of front and center where this virus comes from in Donald Trump’s view of the world.”
After playing a clip of the president saying using the term “Chinese virus” is not racist, Heilemann said, “The President says, ‘No, this is not racist at all,’ when, of course, it’s nakedly racist and obviously racist and blatantly racist.”
He continued, “I ask you, is this not the most predictable thing in the world, that, for Donald Trump, it wouldn’t be enough to go to war against a virus, it would be all but better if the war could be waged a non — a virus could be pinned on a nonwhite population and a population of a country that is one of our economic adversaries that plays straight down the middle of his sort of xenophobic, populist foreign policy? This kind of seems like a golden opportunity for it to play to rip a page out of the Trump political playbook and just apply it to this pandemic by creating the Chinese virus?”
New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker said, “Yeah, I think it goes to two aspects we’ve seen over the last three years of the Trump presidency. One, of course, is that there are threats outside of our borders, and therefore we need to close them as much as we can, whether it be, you know, drug dealers and rapists and criminals and gang members, and now, of course, disease, the idea that America is surrounded by enemies need to wall themselves off, to some extent, protect ourselves.”
He added, “That’s not to say that the Chinese government couldn’t have handled this better. They obviously have, you know, have plenty of things they could scrutinize and criticize. In fact, that’s one reason why they’re kicking out my colleagues and our compatriots in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post because we have tried very hard to scrutinize how China handled this, and to tell the truth about their approach. But that’s not what the President is talking about here. What he’s talking about here, I think, is a threat from the outside that we can all rally against as Americans, in his view.”
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