Chanel Rion of One America News Network asked President Donald Trump Thursday whether saying “Chinese food” is racist, and from there, the two moved on into trashing the media.
During a press conference on the spread of the coronavirus — which Trump has been heavily criticized for calling the “Chinese virus” — Rion, who earlier this week cited a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was possibly created in a North Carolina lab, said, “Do you consider the term ‘Chinese food’ racist because it’s food that originates in China or it has Chinese roots?”
“I don’t think it’s racist at all,” said Trump.
“On that note,” Rion went on, “major left-wing news media — even in this room — have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives and they’re claiming you’re racist for making these claims about ‘Chinese virus.’ Is it alarming that major media players, just to oppose you, are consistently siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals and Latin gangs and cartels? And they work right here at the White House with direct access to you and your team?”
Trump went on to attack the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post saying, “I know the truth and people out there in the world, they really don’t know the truth. They don’t know what it is.”
Before being hired by right-wing OANN, Rion was most known for her political cartoons, which promoted conspiracy theories about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich. She sat down for a series of interviews with Rudy Giuliani last year as he publicly defended himself and Trump during the impeachment proceedings.
The faces made in the room as @ChanelRion asks Trump: Is it alarming that major media players…are consistently siding with a foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals, and Latin gangs and cartels and they work right here…with direct access to you and your team? pic.twitter.com/4eW8RHipY5
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) March 19, 2020
Photos of Trump’s notes from a White House coronavirus task force meeting, which were shared on Twitter by a Washington Post photographer on Thursday, also appeared to show the word “corona” in coronavirus crossed out in black ink and replaced with “Chinese.”
Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out "Corona" and replaced it with "Chinese" Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump #trumpnotes pic.twitter.com/kVw9yrPPeJ
— Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford) March 19, 2020
But officials from the World Health Organization have cautioned against calling the novel coronavirus the “Chinese virus” or any other term that associates it with a specific race or ethnicity.
“The pandemic of influenza in 2009 originated in North America and we didn’t call it the North American flu, so it’s very important that we have the same approach when it comes to other viruses,” Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a press conference on Wednesday. “This is a time for solidarity, this is a time for facts, this is a time to move forward together, to fight this virus together. There is no blame in this.”
J. Clara Chan contributed to this report.