Trump criticized for buck-passing with 'Chinese Virus' tweet

By Xu Keyue and Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/17 20:03:41

US President Donald Trump standing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force team, speaks during a press briefing in the press briefing room of the White House on Sunday in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

US President Donald Trump is in hot water after he tweeted that the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic was a "Chinese Virus," which provoked an online backlash globally with netizens mocking his administration as winning 10 points in epidemic control but 100 points in buck-passing.

Trump tweeted Monday "The US will be powerfully supporting those industries, like airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!" after he said at a Monday press conference that the country may be headed toward recession.

The tweet immediately triggered huge controversy globally.

US media outlets including NBC News and the Washington Post reported the tweet has drawn accusations of racism and xenophobia.

The related topic is trending on Twitter. A petition displayed on the White House website titled "President Trump owes all Chinese apologies for naming COVID-19 'the Chinese Virus'" especially under the circumstances where the origin of COVID-19 is not scientifically definite yet. The petition had received more than 30,000 signatures as of press time and the White House will have to respond if the petition gets 100,000 signatures by April 15.

Joel Rush, a Denver-based sports commentator, slammed Trump on Twitter for trying to "score political points," saying calling it the "Chinese virus" does nothing to solving the problem but can incite  racism against Asian people.

Chinese people also expressed outrage against Trump's tweet.

"Trump is finding a scapegoat for US domestic conflicts on purpose. Do you think he is stupid? No! Shameless politician," said a net user on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo. 

The global pandemic and the lives of ordinary people should not be used as political capital, said another netizen.

US media reported that Trump rated his performance in fighting the coronavirus crisis at 10 out of 10, regardless of mounting criticism. 

The president is best at buck-passing and his strategy is to blame China, Europe and former president Barack Obama for the US failure, said a netizen. "He can get 10 on a 100-point scale for crisis response and 100 for buck-passing."

An Yukang, a Beijing-based politics observer, told the Global Times on Tuesday that facing the pressure of this year's presidential election, Trump is more concerned about not burning his political capital, namely votes from supporters, than putting out the fire caused by the coronavirus. 

Trump wants rabid populism in the upcoming election, An said, noting it will not be surprising to see similar remarks made by Trump in the future. 

The Trump administration's overall strategy is to obfuscate contradictions and seek to divert domestic tensions, especially considering his traditional supporters are working-class people who are more likely to be affected by the epidemic. 

Some US observers slammed Trump administration's response to COVID-19 as a combination of "opacity, propaganda and leaderless inefficiency." He wasted the golden time and cheated the public by playing the virus as a foreign threat, said observers.


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