CNN reporter Jim Acosta noted Wednesday that President Donald Trump called the coronavirus, which originated in China, a “foreign virus,” something Acosta said “smacks of xenophobia.”
Acosta was analyzing Trump’s speech to the nation Wednesday night that outlined further administration plans to combat the coronavirus, now classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. He claimed the president was promoting his immigration policies.
“At one point during the address the president referred to the coronavirus as a quote, ‘foreign virus.’’’ Acosta told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, saying that sources had told him earlier that evening that Trump was taking great pains to “get across to Americans that the virus did not start here.” Acosta then claimed that “immigration hardliner” senior presidential adviser Stephen Miller had been “the driving force behind the president’s speech. (RELATED: White House Cancels Trump’s Events In Colorado, Wisconsin And Nebraska)
“I think it is going to come across to a lot of Americans as smacking of xenophobia to use that kind of term in this speech.”
Acosta said the president’s words “went way beyond” what the Washington press corps expected. He suggested the president banning travel from Europe for 30 days was going to cause “major disruptions to the travel industry and cause all kinds of problems that we haven’t seen since the Trump administration tried the travel ban early on.” (RELATED: ‘Buy American’ — White House Confirms Executive Order That Will End Medical Supply Chain Reliance On China)
Earlier Wednesday, Acosta had accused Trump of not giving the coronavirus pandemic the gravity it deserves. Trump called out the reporter’s CNN network, calling it “fake news.”
The two have a history of sparring at news conferences. In January, Trump told the reporter to “be quiet” when Acosta asked pointed questions about Trump knowing impeachment figure Lev Parnas.