Mar 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says U.S. must "totally protect" Asian Americans from coronavirus blame

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images.

President Trump wrote in a tweet Monday that the U.S. must "totally protect" Asian Americans from being blamed for the coronavirus outbreak amid allegations that his use of the term "Chinese virus" has led to discrimination.

"It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!"

Why it matters: The New York Times on Monday interviewed nearly two dozen Asian Americans who said that they were afraid to leave their homes and have been yelled at or spit on in public during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Times called it a "sudden spasm of hate that is reminiscent of the kind faced by American Muslims and other Arabs and South Asians after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
  • World Health Organization guidelines advise against the use of "Chinese" or "Wuhan" virus to describe COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped Trump or many of his Republican allies from using the term in an effort to assign blame to the Chinese government.

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China bans journalists from 3 major U.S. newspapers

Xi Jinping. Photo: Noel Celis - Pool/Getty Images

The Chinese government announced Tuesday that it will revoke press credentials for American journalists who work for the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and whose credentials were set to expire in 2020, retaliating for state media restrictions by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: It's an escalation of a media war — in the midst of a global pandemic — that will result in U.S. journalists effectively being expelled from China. The journalists will not be permitted to work in Hong Kong or Macao, which is typically what blacklisted journalists have done in the past.

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D.C.'s bipartisan China consensus may be unraveling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For more than two years, Republicans and Democrats have more or less agreed the U.S. needs a China policy that acknowledges Beijing's hard authoritarian turn and the serious challenge China's growing power presents to U.S. interests.

Why it matters: The coronavirus crisis is threatening that consensus. The wedge driving Democrats and Republicans apart is concern about racism.

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Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Photos: Stringer/Getty Images, Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images, Peng/Xinhua via Getty via Getty Images

Axios has compiled a timeline of the earliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in China, highlighting when the cover-up started and ended — and showing how, during that time, the virus already started spreading around the world, including to the United States.

Why it matters: A study published in March indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - World