- White House counselor Kellyanne Conway responded to criticism over the White House’s conflating the novel coronavirus with China by saying “I’m married to an Asian.”
- Conway’s husband, attorney and Trump critic George Conway, is of Filipino descent on his mother’s side.
- Conway made the remark in response to reporters questioning Trump’s use of the term “China virus” and an unidentified White House official calling the virus “the Kung-flu” in front of an Asian-American reporter.
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Kellyanne Conway, a top White House advisor and counselor to the president, responded to criticism over the White House’s conflating the novel coronavirus with China by saying “I’m married to an Asian” when speaking to reporters on Wednesday.
Conway made the remark in response to reporters questioning President Donald Trump’s use of the term “China virus” to refer to the coronavirus, and an unidentified White House official reportedly calling the virus “the Kung-flu” in front of CBS News correspondent Weija Jiang, who is Asian-American.
"I'm married to an Asian" — Kellyanne Conway downplays White House official reportedly calling coronavirus "Kung-Flu" and Trump using the term "Chinese Virus" pic.twitter.com/aI9TubIfGz
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 18, 2020
When PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor pressed Conway to denounce the reported “Klung-flu” remark, Conway responded, “That’s been alleged….I’m not dealing in hypotheticals here, of course it’s wrong, but you can’t just make an accusation and not tell us who it is” before pressing Jiang herself to reveal the staffer’s identity.
“Weija, who was it? Tell us, I think we out to know?” Conway said.
“You understand how these conversations go,” Jiang said.
Conway replied, “I don’t know how these conversations go, and that’s highly offensive so you should tell us who it is, I’d like to know who it is. I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals, I’m married to an Asian…my kids are partly – I’m married to an Asian-American, my kids are 25% Filipino.”
Conway’s husband, attorney and vocal Trump critic George Conway, is of Filipino descent on his mother’s side. He declined to comment on his wife’s remarks in response to a Twitter direct message from Insider.
In her remarks to reporters, Kellyanne Conway said Trump is justified in calling the coronavirus “the China virus” or “Chinese virus” because it was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China.
.@KellyannePolls says the president is referring to where the virus started when he refers to the #coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” (Critics consider the description racist.) pic.twitter.com/0vqNXyB3SC
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) March 18, 2020
Other top Republican officials have also maintained that calling it the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus” is necessary to lay the blame for the current situation on the actions of the Chinese Communist Party, the ruling party in China, for its inadequate response to the virus and attempts to silence whistleblowers who first sounded the alarm.
But critics say that instead of holding the Chinese government accountable, conflating a virus with an entire country and nationality unfairly stigmatizes and ultimately fuels xenophobia against people of Asian and Chinese descent, who are not responsible for the virus’ outbreak or the Chinese government’s response to it.
Sonam Sheth contributed to this report.
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