Trump's notes for Covid-19 speech shows 'Corona' crossed out & replaced with 'Chinese'

Critics say he's trying to deflect blame from himself.

Kayla Wong | March 21, 2020, 04:14 AM

A photo of United States President Donald Trump's notes during a Covid-19 task force briefing showed "Corona" crossed out and replaced with "Chinese" written in black marker ink.

The amended term read as "Chinese virus".

The photo was taken by Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford.

Trump says phrase is not racist

Trump had defended his use of the term "Chinese virus", rejecting criticism that it is racist.

He said on Wednesday, March 18, that the term explains the virus originating in China, and not the U.S., as the Chinese government has asserted multiple times without proof.

Trump had previously referred to Covid-19 as a "foreign virus", and even retweeted his supporter's tweet calling it the "China virus", adding that America needs the "wall more than ever".

Advocates say there's nothing wrong in referring to origin of virus

As with his other controversial moves, Trump's use of the term the "Chinese virus" was met with both supporters and critics, who are largely divided along party lines.

Critics say it's racist

His health advisers, such as the head of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield, agreed that it was "wrong and inappropriate" to attach the word "Chinese" to the virus.

Executive director of the World Health Organisation's Emergencies Programme, Mike Ryan, had also spoken out against the phrase, saying there is "no blame in this", and that countries should "fight the virus together".

Critics speak out against blame game

Critics said that in casting himself as a wartime president facing a foreign adversary, Trump was trying to deflect blame from himself when faced with mounting criticism over the way he handled the outbreak.

Others, such as Washington Post political analyst Josh Rogin wrote in an op-ed that while Trump's rationale for calling it the "Chinese virus" was simplistic, it was "technically accurate".

Nevertheless, he was against the phrase, saying not only does it misdirect responsibility to the part of the Chinese people, when it should be the fault of the Chinese Communist Party instead, but it also plays into the hands of the party unnecessarily.

Trump says he has done a "phenomenal" job handling Covid-19 outbreak

Despite widespread perception that Trump has bungled the response to the Covid-19 outbreak, he maintained that he has done a "phenomenal" job on managing the spread so far.

He has also accused news outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for being "phony" and propagating "corrupt news", which he said was more than "fake news".

Trump's rhetoric shifted

While Trump had previously refused to point fingers, saying the virus was no one's fault, he later shifted his narrative this week as the spread of the virus slowed in China, and Europe became the new epicentre of the virus, according to The Washington Post.

China has reported zero new local infections for the second day in a row on Thursday, March 19, while the U.S. is tackling growing numbers domestically.

Top image adapted via Jabin Botsford's Twitter