Network’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta attacks president’s COVID-19 address
CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta blasted Donald Trump’s Oval Office address on the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the president of “xenophobia” because he referred to COVID-19 as a “foreign virus.”
On Wednesday, President Trump announced in a televised address that the U.S. is suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days starting Friday at midnight in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe,” the president told the nation.
Trump’s address came hours after the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. climbed over 1,200.
“The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared, or more resilient,” Trump said.
“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” the president also said.
“We are all in this together,” Trump told the nation.
“We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation, and one family.”
Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo in response to President Trump’s address, Acosta said:
“The other thing, Chris, that we should point out, at one point during the address the president referred to the coronavirus as a ‘foreign virus.’
“That is interesting because I was talking to sources this evening, one of the points that the president wanted to make tonight, wanted to get across to Americans, is that this virus did not start here.
“But that they are dealing with it,” he continued.
“Why the president would go as far as to describe it as a foreign virus, that is something we’ll also be asking questions about.”
Acosta then suggested that White House adviser Stephen Miller may have been responsible for the choice of language.
“But it should be pointed out that Stephen Miller, who is an immigration hardliner who advises the president, is one of the top domestic policy advisers, was a driving force in writing this speech.”
“I think it is going to come across to a lot of Americans as smacking of xenophobia to use that kind of term in this speech,” he added.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 12, 2020
Trump announced a 30-day travel ban from most of Europe during the address, though the United Kingdom and Ireland are excluded from the restrictions.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots,” Trump said from the Oval Office.
“As a result, a number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travel from Europe.”
Italy has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, with the death toll jumping by 196 to 827 total in just 24 hours on Wednesday.
Democrats and some in the mainstream media have recently accused Trump and Republicans of racism and xenophobia whenever they have referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” or a “Chinese virus.”
Democrats blasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) after he called the coronavirus a “Chinese virus” in a tweet.
McCarthy responded by pointing out that many members of the press and some Democrats had called it the “Chinese virus.”
The media had also routinely described the new disease as the “Wuhan virus/coronavirus” prior to it being officially named COVID-19 in early February.