White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press briefing Monday that President Trump's description of the coronavirus as "kung flu" at a rally Saturday was "linking it to its place of origin."
Why it matters: People have described the term as racist and offensive to Asian Americans, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has previously called it "highly offensive."
- In March, the president was asked about an allegation that a member of his staff had used the term — and, while he didn’t condemn it, he had not used it in public until this weekend. At the time, he said he didn’t think it would put Asian Americans at risk of being blamed for the virus.
What she's saying:
"What the president does do is point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China. It's a fair thing to point out as China tries to ridiculously rewrite history, ridiculously blame the coronavirus on American soldiers — this is what China is trying to do. And what President Trump is saying, 'No, China, I will label this virus for its place of origin.' ... He is linking it to its place of origin. ...
It's not a discussion about Asian Americans, who the president values and prizes as citizens of this great country. It's an indictment of China for letting this virus get here."