Fox News host Tucker Carlson applauded President Donald Trump on Tuesday night for doubling down on using the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the novel coronavirus, saying the moment was the president “at his very best.”
During a coronavirus press conference on Tuesday afternoon in which Trump announced he’d be seeking roughly $1 trillion in stimulus help to boost the economy throughout the pandemic, the president was asked if he was creating a stigma of racism by labeling the virus Chinese or from China.
Trump replied that he was pushing back on Chinese propaganda that blamed the American military for the virus, adding that he has to “call it where it came from.” Earlier in the day, an Asian-American CBS reporter noted that a White House official called the virus the “Kung-Flu” to her face.
On Carlson’s primetime Fox News show Tuesday night, the host—who has consistently described the virus, officially known as COVID-19, as “the Wuhan virus”—took issue with media outlets criticizing the president for his use of the term. Noting that Chinese officials are falsely claiming the virus originated in the United States, Carlson said, “Don’t be shocked if at least one American media outlet promotes that idea.”
The Fox News host went on to grouse about a NBC News tweet that said Trump’s use of the term, according to many officials, was “both inaccurate and harmful, in tying racist associations between the virus and those from China.”
“Another statement written by morons in our news media,” he seethed. “How is it inaccurate to call a virus from China ‘Chinese’?”
Carlson then turned to the president’s response on Tuesday afternoon, commending him for not appearing “intimidated” by the press.
“Good for him,” the Fox host declared, after playing a clip of the president. “That was Trump at his very best.”
Carlson praising the president for sticking to his guns and racially defining a virus comes on the heels of The Washington Post reporting that it was the Fox News star who at least partially influenced the president to begin taking the pandemic seriously. According to the Post’s sources, Carlson’s monologue last Monday night, in which he said the crisis was “real” while appearing to call out the president for “minimizing” the outbreak, was a “turning point” for Trump.