Kellyanne Conway, the adviser to President Trump, engaged in a tense exchange with reporters Wednesday after she asked that the CBS News White House correspondent identify the official who referred to the coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu.”
Weijia Jiang, the correspondent, took to Twitter to announce that the official made the remark right “to her face.” She said it “makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.”
Conway told the reporters that she took the allegation seriously, but she said it is unfair that the reporter posted the comment without naming the individual whom she’s accusing.
“Tell us who it was,” Conway said, backing away from the microphone. “Weijia, come up here and tell us who it was.”
“I think you understand how those conversations go,” the correspondent said. “I am also a journalist.”
Conway fired back at another reporter from PBS who asked if the comments were wrong. The Trump aide said she had little interest in dealing with hypotheticals.
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“You can’t just make an allegation and not tell us who it is,” Conway said, pointing out that her husband, George Conway is part Asian.
“Yes, I’m married to an Asian-American, my kids are 25 percent Filipino. You’re all so obsessed, I thought you knew.”
The disease is widely referred to as the coronavirus or COVID-19. Some Republicans have been called xenophobic by Democrats for referring to the virus as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus.” Republicans defend themselves by insisting that mainstream media first referred to the virus as the “Wuhan Virus” because that is where it originated in China.
Trump referred to the virus during a press conference as the “Chinese virus,” which drew backlash from the World Health Organization officials who said viruses know no borders so “it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus.”
Conway said the media’s attempt to focus on these types of stories do little to help the American public in dealing with the outbreak.