“Wuhan. Wuhan was catching on, coronavirus, kung flu,” he said, repeating it as the crowd roared. “I could give you many, many names. Some people call it the Chinese flu, the China flu, they call it the China.”
Trump drew criticism after he used the racially insensitive moniker to describe the coronavirus at a campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday night — his first since the outbreak largely shut down the country.
At his rally Tuesday, Trump downplayed the virus that has afflicted millions across the globe, saying, “I can name kung flu, I can name 19 different versions of names. Many call it a virus, which it is. Many call it a flu, what difference?”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tried to defend the president’s use of the name when asked by a reporter on Monday why he uses such “racist language.”
“The president doesn’t,” McEnany said. “What the president does do is point to the fact that the origin of the virus was China. It’s a fair thing to point out.”
Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the global outbreak in an effort to deflect blame for his handling of the virus in its early days. He was criticized in March for continuing to call it the “Chinese virus” long after it had spread to other countries and Asian Americans voiced concern that the affiliation would stoke fears and result in prejudice against them.