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Congressman McCarthy responds to accusations of "racist tweet"

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Posted at 6:25 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 13:33:05-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Local Congressman and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is responding to accusations over a recent tweet about the coronavirus. The accusations labeled a tweet from the congressman as "racist" for referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese coronavirus.”

McCarthy responded Tuesday evening on Twitter writing, "Coronavirus is a Chinese -born disease -- made worse by a Communist Party that rejected America's help to contain it."

McCarthy continued by adding clips of headlines from various news sources, such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN, that referred to the virus as the "Chineses Coronavirus."

On Tuesday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield testified before the House of Representatives. During this session, Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said, "It’s absolutely wrong and inappropriate to call this the Chinese coronavirus, I assume you would agree with that."

Several representatives condemned McCarthy for the tweet.

Congressman Fred Keller, R-PA, responded retweeting, "Pathogens [do] not care about politics or parties. The left should not be using this opportunity to score political points."

Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY, a congresswoman of Chinese descent, retweeted saying “I’m embarrassed to be his colleague. I’m so disgusted. We await his apology to the nation, the Chinese-American and #AAPI (Asian and Pacific Islander) community and to his own constituents.”

McCarthy's spokesperson Brittany Martinez defended the lawmaker’s use of the term, saying it's been in common use by media.

“For weeks, this term has been widely used by established media outlets to describe the virus," Martinez said. "But this week, Democrat lawmakers and the same media outlets who used the term in the past have decided it is 'racist' to do so. During a time when the Chinese Communist Party of China is knowingly spreading misinformation, we must be honest with China’s severe lack of transparency, which without question created a worse health problem for the world to deal with.”