Trump defends calling COVID-19 a 'Chinese virus'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE on Wednesday afternoon again defended calling the coronavirus causing COVID-19 a “Chinese virus” during a White House press conference.

The president and his allies have used the term frequently, and on Wednesday Trump opened the latest coronavirus press conference by referring to the pandemic as such. 

“It’s not racist at all,” Trump said when a reporter asked about the phrase creating a dangerous stigma for Chinese Americans. “It comes from China, that's why. I want to be accurate."

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"I know where it came from," Trump said later in the briefing when pressed again on referring to the coronavirus as a "Chinese virus."

During the briefing, the president rejected a conspiracy theory a Chinese spokesperson spread last week that the U.S. Army brought the coronavirus to China.

Meanwhile, Trump appeared to hold China responsible for the administration’s response curve to the outbreak. The first reports of the virus happened in December, and the administration did not create a task force until late January.

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“I don’t believe they’re inflicting it,” Trump said. “I believe they could have given us a lot earlier notice.” 

"I don’t know if you’d say China is to blame," he added. "Certainly we didn’t get an early run on it … but it comes from China. And it’s not a question about that. Nobody’s questioning that."

The president has defended his phrasing on the virus multiple times, including at another White House press conference on Tuesday. 

“I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma," Trump said then.

Several other Republican leaders, including Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), have referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese coronavirus.”

The president also has a history of referring to it as such in past tweets. 

The World Health Organization has requested people stop calling the coronavirus the “Wuhan virus,” and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has rejected the use of the term.