Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama pays tribute to Merkel Supreme Court agrees to review Texas's 6-week abortion ban Youngkin to launch bus tour on same day as Obama, McAuliffe event in Virginia MORE reportedly issued his strongest response yet to his successor's referring to the coronavirus as the "kung flu" during a recent virtual appearance, telling supporters that such sentiments are completely inappropriate coming from a U.S. president.
In an invite-only fundraiser held last week for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE's presidential bid, Obama rejected President Trump's use of the term during a youth rally in Arizona, according to The New York Times.
“I don’t want a country in which the president of the United States is actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment and thinks it’s funny. I don’t want that. That still shocks and pisses me off,” Obama reportedly said.
White House officials including Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne ConwayEthics watchdog accuses Psaki of violating Hatch Act Biden administration competency doubts increase Cook Political Report shifts Virginia governor's race to 'toss-up' MORE defended Trump's use of the term last week after his rally, claiming that he was not trying to spread anti-Asian sentiment and instead was merely making a point about the virus's origin, which is believed to be China's Wuhan province.
"My reaction is that the president has made very clear that he wants everybody to understand, and I think many Americans do understand, that the virus originated in China," Conway told reporters.
In March, Conway had described the same term as "highly offensive" and demanded the name of a journalist who had used the phrase to describe the coronavirus.
"That’s highly offensive, so you should tell us all who it is," Conway told a CBS reporter at the time.
Advocates have warned that rhetoric from Trump and other officials blaming China for the disease's spread has lead to a rise in harassment and mistreatment of Asian Americans.