Past presidents do not often publicly criticize their successors, but Barack Obama took a thinly veiled swipe at resident Trump during the coronavirus pandemic, warning that future generations could face similar disasters if climate change remains unchecked. Obama was not alone in comparing Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic to his opposition to climate change. He also objected to the Trump Administration’s decision to undermine efforts to improve the fuel economy of passenger cars. Observers say Trump, for example, used a range of tactics, including cherry-picking data, spreading outright falsehoods and using anecdotal experience instead of scientific data. The xenophobic strategy arose because of Trump, who handled the outbreak disastrously, is now engaging in the same kind of denial that he has always had to take the crisis seriously. While downplaying the epidemic and urging Americans not to worry, Trump referred to the virus in entirely conventional language.
Earlier, on January 22, he insisted, according to a transcript of his interview with CNBC, that “the virus is completely under control.” Many people have taken him at his word and taken no protective measures, the Trump Administration now is trying to avert this by constantly reminding people that the virus originates in China. Supporters of the government have renamed the coronavirus “China virus” or “Chinese flu” to stoke racial tension and bigotry among Asians – Americans, and defeat nativism about a pandemic that demands a transnational solution. But Trump and his allies assert their wounded innocence when asked, pointing out that few object to terms like “Spanish flu” or “German measles.” But no one is fooled that the only officials who spurned the virus’s correct clinical name were those who supported Trump’s attempts to deflect blame for the unfolding disaster. The world is trying to get around the fact that Trump has revived racial diseases – by naming conventions of the past at a moment of crisis, making it even harder for him to revive them in the future.
Chinese officials and the media may fret that they, in turn, are trying to blame the virus on America. Diplomats from China have struck an increasingly strident tone as Beijing has worked to change the narrative since the first report of the coronavirus outbreak in the mainland last year. Chinese state media, as well as diplomats, embassies, and consulates affiliated with the US Embassy in Beijing and the State Department, have stepped up diplomacy in the style of diplomacy described as wolf warriors. That is why “wolf warriors” — a term used by former White House Chief of Staff — now seems to be the preferred nomenclature for the White House. Chinese diplomats have been particularly aggressive on social media, with many joining the platform last year, underscoring the importance of China’s role in containing the epidemic and sharply criticizing the US for its response to the pandemic. Following the first reports of infection with the new coronavirus disease, officially known as COVID-19, the World Health Organisation has stressed the need for international cooperation to contain the rapidly spreading virus. In recent days, reports from China, where the virus was first detected late last year, have shown its rapid spread again. On Wednesday, China was accused of covering it up when it first surfaced, and the president’s declaration of a national emergency appeared too little, too late, critics say, calling it a false flag attack on China’s role in the global epidemic.