Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Pete Hegseth on Thursday night defended the use of racist terms to describe the novel coronavirus, all while wondering why Democrats are “sucking up” to China by decrying these phrases.
Taking aim at Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for introducing a Senate resolution condemning “anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19”—which includes the use of the phrase “Wuhan virus”—Carlson claimed Harris was denouncing “basic facts.”
“Why is she sucking up to the government of China, exactly?” Carlson wondered aloud before introducing Hegseth, a Fox & Friends co-host and informal Trump adviser.
“Say it with me, Tucker,” Hegseth excitedly declared. “Wuhan virus, Chinese virus, maybe even the ‘Kung Flu.’ A little off-color, but funny and you know, we still live in a free country the last time I checked.”
Back in March, when President Trump and many Republican allies were making a show of calling the disease the “Chinese virus,” Chinese-American CBS reporter Weijia Jiang said a White House official referred to coronavirus as “the Kung Flu” right to her face. Trump would later brush off the controversy, insisting Asian-Americans agreed “100 percent” with his use of “Chinese virus” to describe COVID-19.
Hegseth complained that the left wants to “weaponize” language and “control it” in an effort to make conservatives appear to be the “bad guy,” something that Carlson agreed with wholeheartedly.
“They control language to control your thoughts,” Carlson declared.
Hegseth would then go on to hawk his latest book, American Crusade, claiming America is now in a “holy war and the righteous cause for human freedom” before snarking that the left should file a class-action lawsuit.
“They should seek reparation because they’ve been damaged forever with the title they were given based on the racist notions of Americans who name something after where it came from,” he exclaimed. “As we’re staring down the communist Chinese who want to end our civilization. So, join the crusade, that’s what it’s going to take to save our country.”
Hate crimes against Asian-Americans, meanwhile, have continued to rise amid the coronavirus pandemic, as people of Asian descent have increasingly reported being verbally assaulted, coughed at, and spat on by assailants who blame them for the virus.