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Close up photo of Trump’s handwritten note goes viral after coronavirus presser

Close up photo of Trump’s handwritten note goes viral after coronavirus presser

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Donald Trump has decided that the best way to distract from his administration’s utter bungling of the COVID-19 pandemic response is to rebrand the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” The reason is obvious: he wants Americans to associate the rising death toll with the Chinese Communist Party instead of the White House despite the fact that both entities bear substantial culpability for the worsening crisis.

Calling it the “Chinese virus” also has the added benefit of appealing to the president’s pathologically xenophobic and racist supporters. Exploiting racial animus helped him win in 2016 and now he clearly thinks it can help him dig himself out of the public relations nightmare that he’s created for himself by failing to display the base competency needed to successfully navigate this outbreak.

While calling it the “Chinese virus” might not be racist in a vacuum (in the same way that Spanish Flu is a largely benign moniker), there is undeniably a racist element when it comes from a man with such a long track record of racism. The public had already internalized calling it “coronavirus,” Trump’s sudden pivot to another name gives his whole game away.

Trump fired America’s pandemic response team. Demand he reassemble it to confront the coronavirus pandemic immediately!

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On top of that, saying “Chinese virus” gives the Republican Party another culture war issue to exploit to cover up their own shortcomings. The phrase “Chinese virus” comes from a desire to capitalize on conservative bigotry, but the GOP has plausible deniability. Republicans are self-righteously claiming that liberals are overreacting by pointing out the racist dog whistle nature of the neologism. It’s a widespread gaslighting operation that helps drag attention away from Trump’s mistakes. First, they employ racism, then they pretend that anyone who points it out is oversensitive and hysterical.

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Now, a photograph of Trump’s notes from today’s White House press conference has emerged and it shows how deliberate Trump’s virus rebranding is. The word “Corona” was scratched out in marker and replaced with the word “Chinese.”

It would appear that not only is Trump determined to exploit racism to politically weather this pandemic, but he’s so scatterbrained that he doesn’t trust himself to remember something as simple as the word “Chinese.” Daily, we are confronted by the reality that our president is uniquely unfit for office.

Twitter’s response was merciless.

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