Conway On WH Staffer Allegedly Calling Coronavirus ‘Kung Flu’: ‘I’m Not Dealing In Hypotheticals’

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 16: Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President of the United States and White House Advisor, speaks to during an on-camera interview at the White House on December 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. Conway criticized former FBI Director James Comey and fiercely defended President Trump against Democrats in the Impeachment proceedings during the interview. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks during an on-camera interview at the White House on December 16, 2019. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said it was “wrong” for a White House staffer to allegedly refer to COVID-19 as “the Kung Flu,” but she refused to fully address the allegation when reporters wouldn’t give her a name.

“I’m not dealing in hypotheticals,” Conway said when asked for her response to the comment. “Of course it’s wrong, but you can’t just make an accusation without saying who it is.”

She demanded to know the identity of the staffer, who had reportedly made the remark to CBS News correspondent Weijia Jian on Tuesday.

When reporters kept pressing her on the issue, Conway pointed to her half-Filipino husband, George Conway.

“I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals,” the adviser said. “I’m married to an Asian. My kids are, partly … my kids are 25 percent Filipino.”

Conway continued to demand for a name, and grew frustrated when the reporters explained that they couldn’t reveal their sources.

“Why don’t we go to the source? I certainly didn’t say it. I don’t believe it,” she said. “So why don’t we go to the source and tell them that’s very hurtful and unhelpful for what we’re all trying to do.”

President Donald Trump has recently taken to calling COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” despite warnings that doing so stigmatizes Chinese-Americans.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: