During a recent CNN interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly invoked the term "Trump virus" throwing a not-so-subtle dig at Trump's inability to safely steer the United States through the ongoing pandemic.
Pelosi's use of the nickname to counter Trump's own racist references to the viral pathogen behind the global pandemic was the latest entry in the the tense back and forth that has defined her relationship with President Donald Trump for years.
Pelosi spoke shortly after Trump held a press briefing where, adopting a markedly different tact than he typically does, acknowledged the many dangers the virus poses.
Speaking with host Wolf Blitzer on CNN's The Situation Room, Pelosi took the opportunity to share her view that Trump's sudden change of heart came very late in the game.
The Speaker addressed Trump's long history of inaction in the face of the virus.
"It is a pandemic that has gotten worse before it will get better because of his inaction. And in fact, clearly, it is the Trump virus."
When pressed to elaborate, Pelosi replied:
"The Trump virus. If he had said months ago 'Let's wear masks, let's socially distance instead of having rallies' and political whatever they were, then more people would have followed his lead as the president of the United States"
"Instead of being a bad example making it like a manhood thing not to wear a mask."
Pelosi concluded her remarks by stating:
"So I think a good deal of what we have suffered was clearly the Trump Virus.
Nancy Pelosi repeatedly refers to the coronavirus as “the Trump virus” https://t.co/uUNJmXa6xX— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1595372145.0
Pelosi's term directly opposes ones commonly employed by Trump—like the "China Virus" or "Kung Flu" or "King Fu Flu"—which he invoked for months in an attempt to blame the ongoing crisis on China and appeal to his base. Trump's rhetoric has been criticized for an uptick in hate crimes and verbal attacks targeting people of Asian descent in the United States which have resulted in more than one death.
Plenty of people on Twitter were delighted with Pelosi's use of the phrase.
@HKrassenstein 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 It may have started in China, but right now, the US has 26.7% of all the cases in the wo… https://t.co/EfO2H02Odh— David Bruce (@David Bruce)1595372791.0
@HKrassenstein Pelosi was on it. She has had it with that looser. Trump Virus was really the truth. He owns it alon… https://t.co/BgHxVrR12w— Beverly Palmer (@Beverly Palmer)1595374729.0
@HKrassenstein 1000% correct! And his mask wearing n sudden act of feigned empathy is gross as hell— ChristineD (@ChristineD)1595374242.0
@HKrassenstein Well it ain't ravaging any other country like it is doing to America, so... Yea, #TrumpVirus— Kyle Jacob | Bababooie 🧸 (@Kyle Jacob | Bababooie 🧸)1595371751.0
Some support came in the form of memes.
@HKrassenstein The Virus mutated and is now the Trump Virus. It is stubborn like Trump. 🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐🖐 https://t.co/Nw9pZNQhZx— geecee34 (@geecee34)1595386458.0
@DrDenaGrayson @SpeakerPelosi @realDonaldTrump Gonna burn https://t.co/Bk7gJB4Zx2— Kim Lazenby (@Kim Lazenby)1595431424.0
Others did agree with criticisms of Trump, but a few criticized Pelosi's decision to fight fire with fire.
These comments advocated taking the moral high road.
@RepsForBiden No, I think it looks as bad as Trump calling it the China Virus. Be above that, don't go down to his… https://t.co/GYLDCXB10b— Rory Douglas Sr. (@Rory Douglas Sr.)1595382446.0
Whatever its called, the virus has showed no signs of slowing down as cases and death rates surge across the United States. Rhetoric aside, only actions taken to temper the spread will make any real impact on American lives.