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Trump defends partisan attacks, use of term 'Chinese virus'

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Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 13:43:13-04

President Donald Trump defended his social media attacks against Democratic leaders and his use of the term "Chinese virus" during an hour-long press conference at the White House in which his administration floated plans for economic stimulus.

During a primetime address from the Oval Office last Wednesday regarding the coronavirus pandemic, Trump called for unity, saying that the virus should not be politicized. However, Trump has continued to carry out attacks on Democratic leaders on Twitter. Trump has attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in recent days.

When asked about his partisan attacks in the face of his call of unity, Trump defended his actions and said he only lashes out "when he has to respond."

"I'm not going to let them get away with it," Trump said.

Trump said he spoke to Cuomo on Tuesday morning and said he thought "we're both doing a great job."

Trump was also asked about his use of the racially-charged term "Chinese virus." Trump called the phrase "very accurate." He also pointed to a Chinese official, who floated a debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was spread from the United States to China by the American military.

"I have to call it where it came from, it came from China," Trump said.

The CDC has officially named the coronavirus "SARS-CoV-2," and refers to the virus as "COVID-19" — short for "coronavirus disease 2019." The CDC has not officially named the virus for its place of origin.