As President Donald Trump received a response to a comment Wednesday about the outbreak of coronavirus which is widely regarded as xenophobic, its allies in Congress have risen to his defense – with one senator in particular embracing the rhetoric <. / P>
“China is to blame,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday the virus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China. “As a culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that.”
He went on to identify the consumption of animals as a source of the virus, echoed that the outbreak started with a bat woman eating soup. , The origins of the virus remains a mystery to health officials, even as it continues to spread globally
senator also did not properly cited China as the birthplace of two earlier outbreaks are: Middle East respiratory syndrome, or mer, and the swine flu pandemic
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“China has been the source of many viruses such as SARS, such as mer, swine flu and now coronavirus,” he said. “So I think they have a fundamental problem, and I do not object to geographically identify where it came from.”
But Mers in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and the swine flu in the United States back in 2009.
Cornyn statement came just hours after the president doubled down on him use the term “virus China,” despite the public reaction to the term.
“This is not a racist at all,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “It comes from China, that’s why.”
Since 2015, has warned against using the term to describe a geographic or national outbreak of the disease in order “to minimize the negative effects that do not need the state, the economy and the people.” And in recent weeks, fears over the virus has caused an uptick in reports Asian Americans, as well.
However, when asked about the prospect of rhetoric trigger discrimination or hostility towards Asian Americans, Cornyn said he did not see the connection.
“We are not talking about the people of Asia,” he said. “We’re talking about China, where the virus came from and who has created this pandemic.”
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Julian Shen-Berro, a student at Columbia University, is an intern for NBC News.
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