Trump says spreading of coronavirus not the fault of Asian-Americans

1010 WINS Newsroom
March 23, 2020 - 6:46 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Asian-Americans have been subject to harassment -- verbal and physical -- ever since coronavirus spread from China to the U.S.

President Trump has even been dubbing it during press briefings as the "Chinese Virus," and when he's been rebuffing reporters' questions about such a description and harassment of Asian-Americans.

But on Monday afternoon, Trump appears to have changed his tune, addressing the issue head-on, tweeting, "It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!"

He reiterated those statements during a late-afternoon press conference with the White House coronavirus task force and referred to COVID-19 as "the invisible scourge" as opposed to the "Chinese virus." 

Attorney General William Barr was by Trump's side and warned of price gouging. Although no specific items had been mentioned when it came to gouging, Barr said if Americans had a bunch of toilet paper in their homes, that was OK. But added a stockpile of surgical masks might be a problem.

Noticeably absent from Monday's briefing was Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said earlier he can't jump in front of the microphone to stop President Trump from speaking at daily White House briefings on the coronavirus outbreak.

The nation's top infectious disease expert told Science magazine in an interview that Trump listens "even though we disagree on some things."

"He goes his own way. He has his own style,” Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in the telephone interview with the magazine on Sunday. “But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say."

Trump and Fauci sparred politely but publicly last week over whether a malaria drug would work to treat people with the coronavirus disease.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.