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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany

On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Donald Trump's use of a racist term to describe COVID-19.

At his sparsely attended campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Trump used the term "kung flu" when discussing the virus.


"This disease, without question, has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names," Trump said.

Asked by reporters to justify using the term, McEnany said Trump invoked the racist phrase "to note that this virus came from China and to stand up for our U.S. military."

Trump was not referring to China's attempts at disinformation when he made his remarks Saturday.

When reports surfaced in March that White House aides had been using the racist phrase, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters the language was "highly offensive" and "very hurtful" while disputing that it had been used by anyone in the administration.

From a June 22 press briefing:

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS: Going back to the issue of "kung flu" — I spoke to Kellyanne Conway in March. She said that it was highly offensive and wrong to use that term. Does the president agree with Kellyanne Conway or is he now saying that that term is not highly offensive and wrong? Because again, that was Kellyanne Conway's own words saying "kung flu" is wrong.
KAYLEIGH McENANY: 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.




Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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