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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy lashed out at a reporter on Thursday who asked whether the California Republican thought Donald Trump's use of a racist term "kung-flu" was "an appropriate way to characterize the coronavirus."

McCarthy exploded in outrage over the questions, saying in response, "Do you think that's the most pressing issue you have about the coronavirus? ... What I'm thinking about is why that is your most pressing issue as a question. When we've just seen a spike in coronavirus, you're concerned about somebody and the way they name it."

Trump's use of the racist term for the coronavirus has sparked outrage, especially as many Asian Americans have found themselves the target of hate crimes and violence while Trump and Republicans continue to blame the COVID-19 pandemic on China.

At first, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway agreed it was not acceptable to use the term after a Chinese American CBS News reporter had said that a White House aide — whom she didn't name — used the "kung-flu" term.

"Of course it's wrong," Conway said on March 18.

Since then, Trump himself has started using the term, and as such Conway and other White House staffers have excused the behavior.

"My reaction is that the president has made very clear he wants everybody to understand — and I think many Americans do understand — that the virus originated in China and had China been more transparent and honest with the United States and the world, we wouldn't have all the death and destruction that unfortunately we've suffered and that's important, continue to be important," Conway said on Tuesday, reversing her past comment that using the term was "highly offensive" and "very hurtful."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said on Monday that it's not racist to use the term.

"The president does not believe it's offensive to note that this virus came from China and to stand up for our U.S. military, who China's making an active effort to completely defame, and that is unacceptable to the president," McEnany said.

McCarthy on Thursday wouldn't say whether he thought the racist term was racist. Instead, he appeared angry that he had to answer for Trump's use of the racist term at all.

"I think we should all focus, learn more about this disease, and stop this virus," McCarthy said. "But every time I've come here, you've always had those type of questions. It's interesting to me, if that's what your viewers care most about."

However, polls show voters do care about racism, with Trump's poll numbers sinking thanks in part to Trump's sowing of racial division.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)