Where Things Stand: Trump Tries To Have It Both Ways With ‘China Virus’ Rhetoric

This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 2: President Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R- Ark., speaks during the unveiling of legislation that would place new limits on legal immigration in the Roosevelt Room of the White H... WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 2: President Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R- Ark., speaks during the unveiling of legislation that would place new limits on legal immigration in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
March 25, 2020 12:56 p.m.
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Earlier this week, President Trump attempted to make up for his use of the term “China virus” to describe COVID-19 by defending the Asian American community, which has faced xenophobia and racist attacks in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

But his tweet didn’t go far enough. He failed to address the harm that his racist labeling of the pandemic has and will continue to have on the Asian American community. But, as history has shown, a world leader’s refusal to shut down harmful rhetoric head-on can give leeway for the use of the language to linger. Just this morning, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) seized on the Trumpian rhetoric — as other Republicans have already done — and took it a step further.

During an interview with “Fox and Friends,” Cotton referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus pandemic” and blamed the nation for unleashing “this plague on the world.” He also suggested China should face a manufacturing “reckoning” when the pandemic passes. The consequences of such a comment, from a sitting lawmaker, could be alarming. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Tierney Sneed is covering the details of the new bipartisan stimulus package that the Senate will vote on soon.

Matt Shuham is looking into reports that New York University’s medical school has allowed some senior students to graduate early to work in the NYU hospital.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

The Senate finally struck a bipartisan deal on a huge $2 trillion relief package for the COVID-19 outbreak early Wednesday morning. But, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just said during his daily press conference, the stimulus bill will be but a “drop in the bucket” for New York’s needs. The state has become the epicenter of the outbreak.

After Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) revealed that he had tested negative for the coronavirus, Trump claimed on Wednesday morning that he was “so happy I can barely speak” in a tweet positively dripping in sarcasm. Romney got tested for the virus after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The two senators had been in close proximity in recent days.

Today’s Rundown

2:00 p.m. ET: Trump will have a phone call with nonprofits about the COVID-19 response.

5:00 p.m. ET: White House coronavirus task force will hold it’s briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Texas Lt. Gov. Gets Roasted After He Suggests The Elderly Should Die For The Economy — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

Will The Coronavirus Ever Go Away? Here’s What One Of The WHO’s Top Experts Thinks — Amy Gunia

Roy Moore Says Closing Churches Is ‘Tyranny,’ Tells Pastors They Have Duty To Assemble — Peter Montgomery

The Coronavirus Isn’t Mutating Quickly, Suggesting A Vaccine Would Offer Lasting Protection — Joel Achenbach

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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