Eugene Cho Criticizes President Trump for Calling Coronavirus the 'Chinese Virus'

Scott Slayton | Contributor | Monday, March 23, 2020
Eugene Cho Criticizes President Trump for Calling Coronavirus the 'Chinese Virus'

Eugene Cho Criticizes President Trump for Calling Coronavirus the 'Chinese Virus'

An evangelical leader rebuked President Donald Trump on Twitter last week for referring to COVID-19 as “the Chinese Virus.” 

Last week the President tweeted his reassurance that the United States government will not let economic sectors that have been hit hard by the shutdowns related to the COVID-19 outbreak fail. He said, “The United States will be powerfully supporting these industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!”

Eugene Cho, the President of Bread for the World and founder of Quest Church in Seattle, pointed out what he saw as an obvious problem with the President’s tweet. He wrote on Twitter, “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 world together. Not further divides.”

Cho was born in South Korea to parents who had spent time living in North Korea. They immigrated to the United States when he was six. He told The Washington Post that he was concerned about the signal that President’ Trump’s rhetoric might send to the general public and what the repercussions might be for people of Asian descent. He said, “I can’t speak for all Asians. I know for myself and my family, we’re not just contending with a health crisis … There might be backlash.” He also said that he knows of three people who have been assaulted in the last few weeks, which he attributed to “anti-Asian sentiment.”

Trump has gone on the offensive over blaming the Chinese for the COVID-19 pandemic. A picture circulated last week of a picture of President Trump’s notes for a press conference. He had crossed out “Corona” and had written “Chinese” over it. A reporter asked the President if he thought calling it the “Chinese virus” was racist. The President responded, “not at all,” CNBC reports. Another reporter asked the President why he continued to use the term. He responded “Because it comes from China. That’s why.”

Cho made clear that he is not calling out the President out of hatred or a desire to cut him down. Rather, he wants the President to succeed in fighting the virus and knows that anti-Asian rhetoric will not bring calm into the storm the country is facing right now. He told The Washington Post, “I pray for him and Vice President Pence. We want them to succeed, we need them to succeed. I say this not because I’m eager to pick a bone, but because we want to be able to speak calm and peace into a chaotic situation.”

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

Photo courtesy: Eugene Cho Facebook Page