his administration is handling the response to the global pandemic that has shuttered public life across the U.S., roiled stock markets and left more than 200 people dead in the U.S.
The president again defended his use of the term Wednesday despite mounting criticism among Asian-American advocates, health experts and Democratic lawmakers who warn referring to the virus by a location-specific name stigmatizes certain ethnic groups.
"It's not racist at all, no," Trump told reporters at a coronavirus task force news conference Wednesday when asked about his preferred label. "It comes from China. I want to be accurate." He said he was not concerned about Chinese Americans' concerns about racism, either.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also used the phrase, describing it at multiple press conferences as a "Chinese" virus and a "Wuhan" virus after the city in China where researchers say coronavirus originated.
But race and global health experts argue describing COVID-19 as a "Chinese" virus exacerbates xenophobia amid the rapidly unfolding outbreak while Chinese officials remain rankled by Trump's repeated use of the phrase. Washington and Beijing have blamed one another for mishandling the spread of coronavirus as each country grapples with the pandemic's widening fallout that has battered the world's two largest economies.
Trump and several of his congressional allies continue to use that language to paint the coronavirus crisis as a foreign threat, according to Gordon H. Chang, a professor of history at Stanford University.
"It's an effective political way to rally people, deflect the attention away from his administration's response to this crisis, find a scapegoat and continue this hostility of blaming climate change, trade wars and now disease on China," he said. "These are not words that are just plucked out of the blue but they're part of a pattern that's been going on for a long time to vilify China."