A last, desperate pivot: Trump and his allies go full racist on coronavirus - 2020-03-20
Trump is always eager to find an angle to unspool some demagoguery about how nonwhite people are the enemy, so it was genuinely surprising that he focused, at first, on minimizing the problem. It didn't suggest the man has any actual decency, of course, but it was entirely expected he would default to racism, even when trying to manipulate the stock markets.
But those days are over. The virus is spreading rapidly, people are going stir-crazy stuck at home and the economy is tanking. This is the kind of crisis that opportunistic racists barely dared dream of before. Indeed, Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been all but pleading for weeks for Trump and his fellow right-wing talking heads to move away from denialism and towards racist exploitation.
Trump is finally listening. He's started call this epidemic the "Chinese virus" and, like all racist trolls, is playing dumb when called out for it. He's said it's "not racist at all, no, not at all" and that he wants "to be accurate" and that the virus "comes from China."
Trump's racist trolling is sending Carlson into bouts of near-orgasmic ecstasy. On Tuesday, he swooned that the president's "Chinese virus" rhetoric was an example of "Trump at his very best."