Earlier this week, President Donald Trump referred to coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus’, a term which many people have pointed out is xenophobic and racist.
His use of the term led to some pointed questions during a White House press briefing on Wednesday. During this briefing, press secretary Kellyanne Conway said that she couldn’t be racist, as her husband is Asian.
Conway made this remark after President Trump said that Asian-Americans agree with him “100 per cent” about his use of the term “China virus”, in the same press briefing.
The questions came after CBS White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang tweeted out that an official in the White House had referred to coronavirus as “kung-flu” to her face.
Kellyanne Conway steps in to ask who the official that Jiang tweeted about was, and after a brief conversation, Conway then goes on to say that she can’t be racist, because her husband is Asian.
Her husband, George Conway, is half Filipino, and a fervent Trump critic. He recently wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post stating that President Trump should step down.
In clips of the briefing, Conway says, “I’m married to an Asian, and my kids are, partly.”
After Jiang says that she wasn’t aware, Conway replies by saying, “You’re all so obsessed, I thought you knew.”
But plenty of people pointed out the obvious flaws in this point, such as Maya Wiley, a legal analyst at MSNBC:
Ted Lieu, a US Representative for California, pointed out that he was married to an Asian American woman, and that Trump’s usage of the term was stoking xenophobia.
It should go without saying that knowing someone who is of Asian descent – or indeed being married to them – does not give someone the right to make offensive statements.