Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Thursday censored the word “Chinese” in President Trump’s tweet on the coronavirus.
Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to sign the Defense Production Act to “combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future.”
“Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!” the president wrote:
I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
The former presidential hopeful posted a pointed critique of Trump’s tweet, bluntly asking if his eyes are “stitched shut.” However, instead of retweeting Trump’s tweet, she posted a screenshot with the word “Chinese” obviously blurred out:
President Trump, are your eyes stitched shut? Hospitals need test kits, ventilators, & other medical supplies. That's why the DPA exists. Stop dragging your feet & burying your head & start helping hospitals that are about to be slammed by this pandemic. pic.twitter.com/9bb4Bl05ob
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 19, 2020
Warren is far from the first political figure to take issue with Trump’s characterization of the virus. Failed Trump challenger Hillary Clinton accused Trump of using “racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on”:
The president is turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on, make tests widely available, and adequately prepare the country for a period of crisis.
Don't fall for it. Don't let your friends and family fall for it.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 18, 2020
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanded an apology from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for also referring to the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, as the “Chinese coronavirus.”
“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
Multiple establishment media and left-leaning outlets — including CNN, The Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, CNBC, BBC, NPR, and USA Today — have used similar phrases to refer to the virus, despite the newfound rage over the president’s description.
CNN, for example, used the exact word the president used — “Chinese” — to describe the virus in a January article:
A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected more than 200 people since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans. https://t.co/mnZKFC5ZDW
— CNN (@CNN) January 21, 2020
What is more, the outlet also used the phrase “Wuhan coronavirus” eight times throughout the piece. Trump, however, has continued to defend his use of his descriptor.
Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?” ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked the president on Wednesday.
“Why do you keep using this?” she said, adding that “A lot of people say it’s racist.”
“It’s not racist at all,” Trump stated. “No, it comes from China – that’s why I want to be accurate.”