The purportedly-racist pun “kung flu” was used in official campaigns by government agencies under President Barack Obama.
In 2015, two government hospitals used forms of the pun, for which liberal commentators and White House reporters have excoriated the Trump administration, as part of anti-flu campaigns.
On Wednesday, in response to a transcript of President Trump by a CNN “fact-checker” Twitter account, the Trump campaign responded with an image of a masked airborne ninja and the words “Become a Kung Flu Fighter! Get Your Flu Shot!”
“An official Obama-Biden Administration document,” the Trump War Room said.
The War Room account also linked to a Fox News report on not only that image — from the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System’s official website in 2015 — but a “kung flu” image from the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Washington state from that same year.
“Kung Flu — Knock it out before it knocks YOU out!” declares the flyer, accompanied by a gi-clad monkey and a virus apparently dazed from the beating the monkey put on him.
Numerous reporters — most recently CBS reporter Weijia Jiang at a Monday White House press briefing — have flatly called the term “racist” while demanding to know why Mr. Trump has used it.
“The president doesn’t” use racist terms,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany replied to Ms. Jiang. “What the president does do is point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China. It’s a fair thing to point out, as China tries to ridiculously rewrite history… ridiculously blame the coronavirus on American soldiers.”
“This is what China’s trying to do and what President Trump is saying, ‘No, China, I will label this virus for its place of origin,’” Ms. McEnany said.