Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany On Donald Trump’s Use Of Phrase ‘Kung Flu’ To Describe Coronavirus: “He Is Linking It To Its Place Of Origin”

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed by reporters on Monday on why President Donald Trump, at his Tulsa rally, used the offensive phrase “kung flu” to describe the coronavirus.

In one extended exchange, CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang repeatedly asked McEnany why Trump used the terminology.

She asked, “Last July, President Trump declared himself the least racist person there is…Why does he use racist phrases like ‘kung flu’”?

“The president doesn’t,” McEnany responded. “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. As China tries to ridiculously try to rewrite history. As China tries to ridiculously blame the virus on American soldiers. This is what China is trying to do. President Trump is saying, ‘No China. I will label this virus for its place of origin.’”

But Jiang then asked, “That is what he is saying by using the racist phrase kung flu?”

McEnany responded, “He is linking it to its place of origin.”

Jiang followed up, “What does he have to say to Asian Americans who are deeply offended and worried that his use will lead to further attacks and discrimination?”

McEnany said that the president “has said very clearly that it is important that we protect our Asian community  in the U.S. and 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.”

She said that it was “not a discussion about Asian Americans who the president prizes and values as citizens of this great country. It is an indictment of China for letting this virus get here.”

McEnany then noted that media outlets have referred to the virus as the “China virus,” but Jiang said that the use of the term “kung flu” was in a “separate category.”

“Kung flu is extremely offensive to many people in the Asian American community,” Jiang said. “To be clear, are you saying the White House does not believe this term is racist?”

“To be clear, I think the media is trying to play games on the terminology of this virus,” McEnany answered.

Jiang in March tweeted that a White House official had used the phrase to her in March, but she did not say who that person was. Around that time, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said that the use of the phrase to describe the coronavirus was “highly offensive.”

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