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By Mary Papenfuss

The president’s transcript changes “corona” to the dog-whistle misnomer as he dodges criticism of his administration’s failures in addressing COVID-19.

Trump’s news conference statement Thursday shows where the word “corona” was crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” virus as he speaks to reporters. An enterprising Washington Post photographer captured a startling image of President Donald Trump’s altered news conference script Thursday showing what appeared to be his own handwritten change from “corona” to “Chinese” to form “Chinese virus.”

It appeared he used his favorite reality-altering tool: a black Sharpie.

Photographer Jabin Botsford posted the close-up on Twitter amid raging criticism of Trump over his repeated insistence this week on incorrectly calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Critics have slammed the implied racism of his tactic, which they say is aimed at blaming a nation and a race of people for the pandemic to distract the American public from the dangerous failings of his own administration to battle the virus

Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out “Corona” and replaced it with “Chinese” Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump #trumpnotes  

A closeup of Donald Trump's news conference statement Thursday shows where the word "corona" was crossed out and replaced witJabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump on Wednesday dismissed the idea that the term “Chinese virus” was in any way racist. “It comes from China,” he said. “It’s not racist at all. I want to be accurate.”

It’s not accurate. Trump’s own top health advisers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield have said it is inappropriate and inaccurate to label the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”

The correct term is coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19. Those are the terms international scientists, the World Health Organization, U.S. health officials, physicians and much of the general public use.

A report by Human Rights Watch on Thursday linked Trump’s use of his term Chinese virus to the fueling of “anti-Chinese sentiment” as anti-Asian hate crimes soar in the U.S.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), in an opinion article in The Washington Post on Wednesday, slammed Trump for “stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis” and shrugging off blame instead of doing his job to help Americans survive the pandemic.

Ted Lieu

✔@tedlieu

US House candidate, CA-33

Dear @WhiteHouse: This virus has an official name, Covid-19 and an unofficial name, Coronavirus. Your language will cause more discrimination against Asian Americans.

What would help is if you can get hospitals & first responders much more test kits & protective equipment. https://twitter.com/whitehouse/status/1240345890159824901 …

The White House

✔@WhiteHouse

Spanish Flu. West Nile Virus. Zika. Ebola. All named for places.
Before the media’s fake outrage, even CNN called it “Chinese Coronavirus.”
Those trying to divide us must stop rooting for America to fail and give Americans real info they need to get through the crisis.

 

Trump complained on Thursday that China “could have given us a lot earlier notice” about the spread of the disease there, which began in early December. Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization on Dec. 31. It wasn’t until this week that Trump first pledged to ramp up testing in the U.S., which remains far behind other nations and the current demand.

Trump actually thanked the Chinese in January for their efforts against the illness and for their “transparency.”

Akshaya Kumar

✔@AkshayaSays

Replying to @jabinbotsford @realDonaldTrump

Words matter!@hrw found COVID19 motivated anti-Asian hate crimes including physical attacks & beatings, violent bullying in schools, angry threats & discrimination in workplaces.

Instead of warning against that, our president is stoking those fireshttps://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response# …

Steve Herzfeld @american2084

Replying to @jabinbotsford and 2 others

Perhaps it’s now time for someone to use a Sharpie to cross that out and write ‘Trump’.#TrumpVirus
Trump’s exceptional incompetence is making this pandemic far worse.

268

2:21 PM – Mar 19, 2020

No matter how many times we mention or speak his name with facts, TOTUS will continue to invent what ever he believes will benefit his image (which by the way is that of an inept leader whose shortsightedness was legend before he became (gag) President).

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