President Donald Trump has drawn widespread condemnation for his new use of the racist label “Chinese Virus” when referring to the novel coronavirus, language experts warn could incite violence against Asians around the world.
The president’s decision to go all-in on the xenophobic language—which erases his praise for China’s handling of the virus just a few short weeks ago—is predictable; a way of hoping to distract attention from his mishandling of a catastrophic public health crisis. If you needed any more evidence that this is a deliberate strategy, take a look at this photo the Washington Post’s Jabin Botsford snapped inside the briefing room on Thursday:
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 pic.twitter.com/kVw9yrPPeJ
— Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford) March 19, 2020
The photo, which shows the word “corona” crossed out with a sharpie, all but confirms Trump appealing to his base with bigotry. He knows it’s red meat for his supporters, who despite their rabid support, may have come to realize in recent days that the president had misled them about the seriousness of the disease and maybe even exacerbated a public health emergency.