Democratic senator asks Pompeo to stop saying 'Wuhan virus'

Democratic senator asks Pompeo to stop saying 'Wuhan virus'
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is calling on Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize MORE and other State Department officials to stop using the term “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese virus” to refer to COVID-19.

“I am obliged to point out that referring to this global pandemic by anything other than its appropriate, medical names is unhelpful at best, and at worst risks inflaming stereotypes, fear, and xenophobia in the face of a health crisis,” Cardin wrote in a Tuesday letter.

Cardin noted his dual role as the special representative on anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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“The identification of disease with national origin, ethnic group, or religion took on a more sinister character as one of a number of rationalizations for displacement, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide,” he wrote.

Cardin noted that Nazi propaganda films collected at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum blamed Polish Jews for the spread of typhus.

He also pointed to a photo captured by a Washington Post reporter last week that showed the phrase “Corona Virus” was edited to say “Chinese Virus” in the notes for public remarks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE.

“The tone you and your senior staff set for the men and women of the State Department is crucial; U.S. diplomatic credibility abroad must not be compromised by the irresponsible use of the term ‘Wuhan virus,’” Cardin admonished Pompeo.

He asked the secretary to be “mindful” and use “only the recognized names for COVID-19 an the virus that causes the disease: SARS-CoV-2.”