Evangelical pastor calls out Trump's rhetoric for promoting ‘hatred against Asians’
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix, photo by Gage Skidmore.

Although Mainland China is no longer the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump and his supporters in right-wing media continue to use rhetoric like “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus.” And Eugene Cho, an evangelical pastor based in Seattle, is calling him out for it.

In a March 16 tweet, Trump posted: “The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!”

But by that point, most of the coronavirus related-deaths had occurred outside of Mainland China — and Europe had become the new coronavirus epicenter.

Cho, responding to the misleading “Chinese virus” reference in Trump’s tweet, responded, “Mr. President: This is not acceptable. Calling it the ‘Chinese virus’ only instigates blame, racism, and hatred against Asians — here and abroad. We need leadership that speaks clearly against racism; leadership that brings the nation and world together. Not further divides.”

The pastor, who was born in Korea but moved to the United States when he was six, also tweeted, “Listen, I want President Trump to succeed. We have a national and global health crisis. We NEED him to succeed. But while I can't speak for all Asians, I'm navigating not just the health crisis...but the reality of racism and anger against Asians.”

Figures published by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon show hard coronavirus has been hitting countries other than Mainland China. Worldwide, the death toll from coronavirus had reached 7,866 — and while well over 3,100 people had died in Mainland China, other figures ranging from 2,503 deaths in Italy to 988 deaths in Iran to 509 deaths in Spain and 148 in France.