Trump Openly Uses Racist ‘Kung Flu’ for COVID-19 at Campaign Rally

Trump Openly Uses Racist ‘Kung Flu’ for COVID-19 at Campaign RallyTrump Openly Uses Racist ‘Kung Flu’ for COVID-19 at Campaign Rally
Ryan General
June 22, 2020
President Donald Trump once again blamed China for COVID-19 during a recent campaign rally on Saturday by referring to the virus as “kung flu.”
 
What happened: Speaking at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump said, “It has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names.”
  • The event on Saturday evening marked Trump’s return on the campaign trail amid the current pandemic. 
  • Around 6,200 Trump supporters attended the rally in the BOK Center, or Bank of Oklahoma Center, which seats more than 19,000 people, NBC reports. 
  • Trump’s “kung flu” statement, which drew cheers from his supporters, is not the first time he used racist language to talk about COVID-19.
  • Trump has previously drawn flak for repeatedly calling it the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.”
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Why it matters: The Asian American community and other groups have condemned Trump in the past for race-baiting and xenophobia. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) denounced the use of the “Chinese virus” as this unnecessarily contributes to racial profiling.
  • “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen a surge of discriminatory rhetoric and violent attacks against Asian Americans across the country,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter signed by members of the Asian Pacific American Caucus and sent a letter to all of her congressional colleagues on Feb. 26. “Even just looking Asian has been enough to incite attackers to hurl insults and accuse individuals of being disease carriers.”
  • “Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank. So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus,” said WHO emergencies program executive director Dr. Mike Ryan. 
  • Trump has previously defended his characterization of the coronavirus by saying, “It’s not racist at all. No, not at all.”
  • However, many have urged Trump’s government to respond to the coronavirus pandemic more effectively instead of focusing on anti-Asian attitudes, finger-pointing and xenophobia.   
  • Despite claims that the U.S. is “leading the world” with its response to the pandemic, views of Trump’s handling of the crisis have been overwhelmingly negative.
  • In the U.S., over 120,000 COVID-19 patients have died out of the 2.3 million infected Americans. 
Feature Image via Los Angeles Times
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