Some Republicans and their supporters are wrongly blaming U.S. President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis on China.
“Remember: China gave the virus to our president,” tweeted Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. “We must hold them accountable.”
A Republican political adviser and Trump campaign fundraiser, Blair Brandt, said in a tweet, “The Chinese Communist Party has biologically attacked our President.”
In another example, GOP Congressman Mark Walker asked, “Is it fair to make the assessment that China has now officially interfered with our election?”
These false assertions, including Trump’s frequent reference to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” have resulted in an onslaught of racist incidents and hate crimes targeting Asians in the U.S. and Canada.
Trump blamed the virus on China because it originated in Wuhan. But experts say no one country is at fault: rapid globalization and the free movement of people are to blame for the pandemic. Now, the U.S. is grappling with the worst outbreak in the world. To date, nearly 7.3 million people have been infected and more than 208,000 have died in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, life has largely gone back to normal in Wuhan.
“There is no way this would have ever happened to Xi Jinping,” China expert Stanley Rosen, a political science and international relations professor at the University of Southern California, told VICE News previously. “The United States and Trump didn't take the COVID issue seriously enough and I'm confident that a lot of people in China will find it unbelievable that the American president now has this infamous virus. It just affirms how poorly the U.S. has treated the pandemic issue compared to China’s handling.”
VICE News recently reported how Trump—not China—has been the single biggest driver of COVID-19 misinformation. And many people were quick to point out Friday morning that Trump put himself at greater risk of contracting the virus by continuously skirting internationally accepted public health guidelines of wearing a mask, keeping distance from others, and avoiding crowds in closed spaces.
Trump and his family have continuously opted not to heed the advice, despite interacting with hundreds of people while campaigning ahead of November’s election. At Tuesday’s election debate between Trump and his democratic opponent, Joe Biden, Trump’s family refused to wear masks and Trump ridiculed Biden’s decision to wear them as well as hold small campaign events, as opposed to major rallies. (Biden tested negative for the virus on Friday morning.)
Then on Thursday, hours before he tested positive, Trump was in close contact with dozens of people at a fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club.
Efforts are now underway to determine when Trump caught the virus—and how many people he interacted with right before he tested positive.
Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, confirmed they tested positive at about 1 a.m. Friday morning shortly after news broke that Whitehouse staffer Hope Hicks has COVID-19. Hicks reportedly already felt ill on Wednesday, the same day she was at Trump’s side while he travelled to a campaign rally in Minnesota.
The Trumps are now in isolation and no one knows what’ll happen next.
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