Trump Defends "Chinese Virus" Phrasing for Coronavirus: "It's Not Racist"

Donald Trump -Press Briefing Room at the White House March 18, 2020- Getty 2-H 2020
Alex Wong/Getty Images

"It comes from China, that's why. I want to be accurate," said Trump on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump began Wednesday's White House press conference by calling the coronavirus the "Chinese virus."

For the third day in a row this week, Trump appeared in the press room with his coronavirus task force to update the American people on the state of the global pandemic. Trump, who recently drew backlash for referring to COVID-19 on Twitter as the "China virus," was asked about his choice of words by a reporter after his address.

"Because it comes from China. It's not racist at all," said Trump in response to a question about his phrasing being viewed as racist, and potentially harmful to Chinese Americans and Asian American communities. "No, not at all. It comes from China, that's why. I want to be accurate."

He added, "I have great love for all of the people from our country. But as you know, China tried to say, at one point — maybe they stopped now — that it was caused by American soldiers. That can't happen. That's not going to happen. Not as long as I'm president. It comes from China."

Officials, including the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have criticized Trump's phrasing, with many Democrats condemning the term for encouraging race-baiting and xenophobia.

The World Health Organization has urged people not to call the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, a “Wuhan virus,” “Chinese virus” or “Asian virus.” The organization said the official name of the disease, COVID-19, was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization.