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Kellyanne Conway now supports ‘Kung Flu’ term after Trump takes liking

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  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday defended Trump’s use of the racist term “Kung Flu” to describe the coronavirus.
  • In March, Conway said the term was “highly offensive” after CBS reporter Weijia Jiang accused a White House official of using the term.
  • But in recent days, Trump has embraced the racist term, using it at two rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix on Saturday and Tuesday.
  • At a Wednesday press conference, Conway did not repeat the term but did not criticize it, saying it was important that Americans know that Trump blames China for the pandemic.
  • “While the president is saying it, he is also saying this virus came from China. China is responsible,” she said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kellyanne Conway effectively u-turned on her past criticism that the term “Kung Flu” was offensive by defending President Donald Trump’s use of it and saying China is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 18, the counselor to the president had told CBS reporter Weijia Jiang that the term “Kung Flu” was “highly offensive” after Jiang tweeted that a White House official, who she did not name, used the term to describe the coronavirus in her presence.

Conway at the time said the term was “hurtful” and noted that her husband is of Filipino descent, and that her children are Asian-American.

But at a press conference on Wednesday, Conway defended Trump’s use of the term last Saturday and on Tuesday, much to his supporters’ delight.

Conway said labelling the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” helps Americans see that the president blames China for the pandemic.

The justification echoed that of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who on Monday insisted that Trump was simply “putting the onus back on China.”

Donald Trump Tulsa

Trump at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

Win McNamee / Staff / Getty Images


On Wednesday, NBC News reporter Monica Alba asked Conway what she thought of the term, now that it had entered the president’s lexicon.

“The president has made very clear he wants everybody to understand … that the virus originated in China,” Conway responded.

Conway then switched topics to condemn Jiang, who had just arrived at the press conference, for not identifying the official said to have used to term back in March.

“I still invite you up here to tell us who said that,” Conway said.

“And I think that that would be a very important revelation for us. That’s not a source for you to protect. That’s somebody who shouldn’t have said that, and you’re claiming did say that, and we still don’t know who that was.”

Weijia Jiang

CBS reporter Weijia Jiang pictured at an earlier press conference at the White House.

White House


Jiang then asked Conway whether she would tell Trump that the term was offensive.

“I speak to the president daily on many different topics. We don’t always agree on everything, and that’s why I work here,” Conway said.

Conway reiterated that “it’s incredibly important” that the president does “not let China escape responsibility here.”

“While the president is saying it, he is also saying this virus came from China. China is responsible.”

“I asked her to walk me through the logic, since the phrase ‘Kung Flu’ does not refer to a place,” Jiang clarified on Twitter after the conference had ended.

Conway finished by accusing Jiang of missing her chance to solve the issue.

“You should have come forward 100 days ago. You lacked the courage to tell everybody who said that to you,” she said.

Trump’s use of the term “Kung Flu” comes as Asian Americans continue to face racial attacks by people blaming them for the coronavirus outbreak.

Prominent Asian Americans, including Rep. Ted Lieu, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and actor George Takei, have condemned Trump for using it.

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