A White House official reportedly used the racist term “Kung flu” while speaking to CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang, who was born in China and grew up in West Virginia. The official has not been identified.
“Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back,” Jiang wrote on Twitter.
This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) March 17, 2020
The alleged incident comes after President Donald Trump faced scathing criticism for referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed at least 96 lives so far across the United States, as “the Chinese coronavirus” in a tweet, a move that earned him a rebuke from a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman who said the U.S. should “take care of its own business” before stigmatizing the nation.
Far-right supporters of the president have falsely claimed that the pandemic is a plot perpetrated by Democrats who are working with the Chinese to remove him from office.
Earlier this week, far-right commentator Josh Bernstein doubled down on claims of conspiracy, declaring that the pandemic is the result of a collaboration between Democrats and the Chinese “medical deep state” during an appearance on “The NutriMedical Report.”
“This is a Democratic Party and a media establishment made-up pandemic,” Bernstein said. “I believe that because Russia didn’t work, and Ukraine didn’t work, and impeachment didn’t work, they are so hell-bent on destroying this country [and] this president to gain back power that they probably worked with the Chinese government, and they devised this plan. They allowed their medical deep state to release this virus into the American public, to scare the living daylights out of everybody to shut down the economy, to shut down the markets, and to stop the Trump rallies.”