House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday accused Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) of sending a “bigoted” message on the coronavirus for noting its place of origin and demanded him to delete his message and “apologize immediately.”
McCarthy took to social media on Monday, posting a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to assist Americans in staying informed on the novel coronavirus.
“Everything you need to know about the Chinese coronavirus can be found on one, regularly-updated website,” McCarthy explained:
Everything you need to know about the Chinese coronavirus can be found on one, regularly-updated website: https://t.co/nGCCDVqcqe
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 9, 2020
Pelosi took issue with McCarthy’s description. Referring to the virus’s country of origin, according to the House speaker, is “bigoted.”
“Bigoted statements which spread misinformation and blame Asians and the Asian American community for #coronavirus make us all less safe. @GOPLeader must delete this tweet and apologize immediately,” she said:
Bigoted statements which spread misinformation and blame Asians and the Asian American community for #coronavirus make us all less safe. @GOPLeader must delete this tweet and apologize immediately. pic.twitter.com/twzCcVAWDH
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 10, 2020
Many figures have had their hands slapped by verified users on Twitter, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), for using terms like “Chinese coronavirus” and the “Wuhan virus”:
One reason @POTUS & his enablers failed to contain #COVID2019 is due to the myopic focus on China. The virus was also carried into the US from other countries & US travelers. Calling it Chinese coronavirus is scientifically wrong & as stupid as calling it the Italian coronavirus. https://t.co/T5SPlSaKaA
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 10, 2020
If you label the coronavirus as a “Chinese” coronavirus, you are a racist. It’s that simple. Stop playing politics with the coronavirus. You’re not gonna rebrand it, you’re not gonna use it for your BS propaganda and you sure as hell aren’t fooling anyone. @GOPLeader is a racist. https://t.co/51NoFFsTKm
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 10, 2020
Just astoundingly gross to call it the Wuhan Virus. https://t.co/cMrsA59xTH
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 9, 2020
Yep, an ignorant dumb fuck like Kevin McCarthy would be the one to say something as racist as “Chinese Coronavirus.”
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) March 10, 2020
Using racist terms like "Wuhan virus" is why your family ran ads against you. Stop it. https://t.co/Ik8vAClZOW
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) March 9, 2020
FYI: Calling #COVID19 the "Wuhan Virus" is racist.
— David Gura (@davidgura) March 9, 2020
If you’re calling #CoronaVirus “Wuhan Virus” you’re a damn racist.
— Blair Amadeus Imani (@BlairImani) March 9, 2020
Desperate Trump supporters are trying to label COVID-19 the Wuhan virus to distract from the fact that the Trump administration's failures have increased the danger here in the U.S. It's childish, but it has the advantage of also invoking racist tropes. They like that. https://t.co/FdxttJqnBt
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 9, 2020
Some conservatives, including Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Paul Gosar, are using the term “Wuhan virus” to describe Covid-19. Critics accused the term, which goes against the recommendation of health officials, of being racist and xenophobic. https://t.co/z31zlTHCaL
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 10, 2020
However, as Breitbart News’s John Nolte demonstrated, naming viruses after their places of origin is a well-established practice, spanning decades:
“Wuhan” was first discovered in Wuhan, China.
Ebola was named after a river close to where an outbreak took place in Africa.
Lyme disease was named after a Connecticut town experienced an outbreak in 1975.
The Zika virus was named after a forest in Uganda in 1947, where scientists discovered what it was.
The Marburg virus was first discovered in Marburg, Germany.
The West Nile virus is what causes West Nile fever… guess where…
Did you know Legionnaires’ disease is named that because the first notable outbreak killed off a bunch of legionnaires in attendance at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia back in 1976?
McCarthy also reiterated that point on Tuesday.
“Democrats are trying to score political points by calling Republicans racist,” McCarthy said. “Coronavirus is a China-born disease—made worse by a Communist Party that rejected America’s help to contain it.”
“Which is why Dems & media called it ‘Chinese coronavirus’ for weeks,” he added.
McCarthy further demonstrated his point by providing screenshots of images from various media outlets that previously used the term “Chinese coronavirus.” Those included the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN:
Here we go again.→ Democrats are trying to score political points by calling Republicans racist.
Coronavirus is a China-born disease—made worse by a Communist Party that rejected America's help to contain it.
Which is why Dems & media called it "Chinese coronavirus" for weeks. pic.twitter.com/Km1rdn1R47
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 11, 2020
Indeed, multiple media outlets have used the terms “Chinese coronavirus,” “Chinese virus,” “China coronavirus,” “Wuhan virus,” and “Wuhan coronavirus.”
“Japan and Thailand Confirm New Cases of Chinese Coronavirus,” a January headline from the New York Times reads.
“China confirms Wuhan virus can be spread by humans,” CNN reported that same month.
“The CDC and Homeland Security begin screening for Chinese Coronavirus at three major US airports as outbreak spreads in Asia,” CNBC reported January 17.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday that it has formally designating the virus as a “pandemic”:
🚨 BREAKING 🚨
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020