A controversial pay television reporter claimed the head of the U.S. government discriminated against people born overseas when describing a deadly Asian disease as non-native.
Jim Acosta accused President Donald Trump of prejudice against those who came from abroad for calling the Chinese coronavirus (COVID-19) “foreign” in his March 11 address to the nation.
The CNN correspondent, who was kicked out of the White House for being “rude” to the president in 2018, accused political adviser Stephen Miller of adding his “hard-liner” views on immigration in the speech.
“Stephen Miller, who is an immigration hard-liner who advises the president, is one of his top domestic advisers and speech writers was a driving force in writing the speech,” he said according to a video uploaded by Breitbart. “I think it is going to come across to a lot of Americans as smacking of xenophobia to use that kind of term in the speech, Chris.”
Acosta appeared to be so surprised the president referred to COVID-19 as a “foreign virus” he interviewed multiple anonymous sources afterward.
“As I was talking to sources earlier this evening … one of the points that the president wants to make tonight is to get across to Americans that this virus did not start here but that they are dealing with it,” he said. “Now why the president would go as far as to describe it as a foreign virus that is something we will also be asking questions.”
The correspondent did not appear to know Italy and other parts of the European Union had allowed the virus to reach epidemic levels by not following the example of many countries including the United States to ban all arrivals from mainland China unless they are citizens of the countries they travel to.
“I do not think many of us were expecting the president to announce a travel ban from Europe for 30 days starting on Friday at midnight,” he said. “That is stunning, that is going to cause major disruptions for the travel industry.”
Acosta seemed to suggest freedom of movement was more important than protecting more U.S. residents from being infected by COVID-19.
“It is going to cause all kinds of problems that we have not seen since the Trump administration tried its travel ban very early on in the administration,” he said. “We saw people waiting at the airport and so on, if loved ones were going to get back from Europe.”
CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo added his commentary on the issue and appeared to support Acosta’s view that COVID-19 should not be linked to its country of origin.
“[The president] is doing it to put blame somewhere else,” Cuomo said. “In the last four days [House GOP Leader Kevin] McCarthy and others [were] saying the Chinese coronavirus, the Wuhan coronavirus—we get that. It cannot be the main concern right now.”
However, the president urged mass media companies to try to unite the nation in the fight against COVID-19 instead of dividing it over party politics.
“The media should view this as a time of unity and strength,” he said on Twitter. “We have a common enemy, actually, an enemy of the world, the coronavirus. We must beat it as quickly and safely as possible. There is nothing more important to me than the life and safety of the United States.”