Surgeon General Jerome Adams responded Friday after “PBS Newshour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor accused him of using racially charged language.
Adams had said earlier during the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing that people should consider their at-risk family members when determining which precautions to take with regard to coronavirus, saying, “Do it for your abuela, do it for your grandaddy, do it for your Big Mama, do it for your pop pop.” (RELATED: Surgeon General Predicts Coronavirus ‘Pearl Harbor Moment’ In Coming Weeks)
Alcindor tweeted a response to Adam’s words.
Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, tells black people, Latinos and other ppl of color to avoid alcohol and drugs and adds: “Do it for your abuela, do it for your grandaddy, do it for your Big Mama, do it for your pop pop.”
Context: Many found this language highly offensive.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 10, 2020
She then asked the Surgeon General to respond to those who had found his words offensive later in the briefing.
Adams was quick to respond that he had never meant any offense to anyone, and noted that he was only using language that was used within his own family.
“I used language we use in my family,” Adams explained. “I have a Puerto Rican brother-in-law. I call my Granddaddy, ‘Granddaddy.’ I have relatives who call their parents ‘Big Momma. It was not meant to be offensive. That is the language that we use.”
Adams went on to say that the guidelines and suggestions were meant for everyone, not just specific races or ethnicities. “We need everyone, no matter what color you are, to follow the Coronavirus guidelines, and do their part. When I talked to the NAACP, three weeks ago, one of the things they asked me is can you help dispel the myths in the community that people cannot get the Coronavirus if they are black? That was a myth that was important for us to squash.”