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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

"That's Been the Story of Life"

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well under  way.  

Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.

Q Okay. Why do you keep calling this the “Chinese virus”? There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country. Your own aide, Secretary Azar, says he does not use this term. He says, “Ethnicity does not cause the virus.” Why do you keep using this? A lot of —
THE PRESIDENT: Because it comes from China.
Q — people say it’s racist.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.
Q And no concerns about Chinese Americans —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, please, John.
Q — in this country?
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q And to the aides behind you, are you comfortable with this term?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I have a great — I have great love for all of the people from our country. But, as you know, China tried to say at one point — maybe they stopped now — that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen — not as long as I’m President. It comes from China.
...

Q Mr. President, perhaps I could second follow up. How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can’t get them? Do the well-connected go to the front of the line?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that — you’d have to ask them that question. I mean, they — I — I’ve read —
Q Should that happen?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I wouldn’t say so, but perhaps that’s been the story of life. That does happen on occasion. And I’ve noticed where some people have been tested fairly quickly. Look, we inherited a very--
Q Would you encourage them to defer their test to others?
THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. Excuse me. We inherited a very obsolete system. This was a system that was out of date, obsolete, or it was a system that was never meant to take care of the kind of quantity, the number of people that we’re talking about — millions and millions of people.
...
Q Yeah. Mr. President, your credibility ratings are very low. There was a recent NPR poll --
THE PRESIDENT: Who are you asking with that question?
Q I’m asking —
THE PRESIDENT: Because I see that they’re very high. You know, if you look, I’m 95
percent in the Republican Party.
Q Credibility, sir —
THE PRESIDENT: We just had a poll that was done by a very reputable group. We’re — I’m beating Sleepy Joe Biden by a lot in Florida — in the state of Florida and in other states. You know, so I don’t really know who you’re talking about.
...
Q: There’s federal — there’s reporting that the federal government has a plan that shows that this coronavirus outbreak might last as much — as long as 18 months. Are you seeing those numbers? Could this actually last —
THE PRESIDENT: No, we’re not seeing that at all.
Q And then the — my second question is, there are some — at least one White House official who used the term “Kung flu,” referring to the fact that this virus started in China. Is that acceptable? Is it wrong? Are you worried that that having this virus be talked about as a “Chinese virus,” that that might help —
THE PRESIDENT: I wonder who said that.
Q That might (inaudible) —
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know who said that?
Q That — I’m not sure the person’s name, but would you condemn the fact —
THE PRESIDENT: He used —
Q — the “Kung flu” —
THE PRESIDENT: Say the term again.
Q The — a person at the White House used the —
THE PRESIDENT: No, just the term.
Q — term “Kung flu.” My question is —
THE PRESIDENT: “Kung flu”?
Q — do you think that’s wrong? “Kung flu.” And do you think using the term “Chinese virus” — that puts Asian Americans at risk, that people might target them?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. No, not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent. It comes from China. There’s nothing not to agree on.