KEY POINTS

  • Kellyanne Conway is again having to defend her boss, Donald Trump, from charges of racism
  • Trump recently referred to COVID-19 as the "China virus," leading to outraged denunciations of racism
  • Conway's husband, George, a fierce Trump critic, is half-Filipino

Lawyer George Conway, a fierce Trump critic and the other half of Washington's oddest couple, is having to contend with his wife again coming to defense of her boss, president Donald Trump, who's again being accused of racism. This time Trump is taking it on the chin for using the racial slur, "China virus," to refer to COVID-19.

Conway’s wife, Kellyanne, is counselor to Trump and one of Trump's staunchest champions. Conway's mother is a Filipino, making him half-Filipino while his four children with Kellyanne are 25% Filipino.

Some critics said it's racist for Trump to use "Chinese virus" because this exposes not only Chinese but other Asians to the attentions of American racists and white nationalists. It also demeans foreigners in the eyes of other Americans.

One White House official used the epithet, "kung flu," to refer to COVID-19 in the presence of CBS News correspondent Weija Jiang, who is Asian-American. Jiang later tweeted: "This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the 'Kung-Flu' to my face. Makes me wonder what they're calling it behind my back."

During a White House press briefing Wednesday, PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump about his using the term, "China virus." As could be expected, Trump didn't apologize and instead added to the insult by claiming, Asian Americans "probably would agree with it 100%."

Jiang's question to Trump was, "Do you think that's wrong? And do you think using the term Chinese virus puts Asian Americans at risk? That people would target them?"

"No, not at all. Not at all," said Trump. He then made the claim Asian Americans "probably would agree with it 100%. It comes from China. There's nothing not to agree with."

Alcindor later urged Kellyanne Conway to denounce the "Kung-flu" remark. Conway responded by saying she didn't believe it and she won't deal with hypotheticals.

But Alcindor got Kellyanne to admit Trump's remark, is "wrong, but you can't just make an accusation and not tell us who it is." Kellyanne did, however, claim Trump is justified in calling the coronavirus "the China virus" or "Chinese virus" because it was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China. Her answer, however, completely misses the point raised by both Jiang and Alcindor.

Kellyanne then asked Jiang to name the White House staffer that uttered "kung flu." Jiang refused.

"You understand how these conversations go," said Jiang, implying she had to keep her sources confidential.

To which Kellyanne replied, "I don't know how these conversations go, and that's highly offensive. So, you should tell us who it is, I'd like to know who it is. I'm not going to engage in hypotheticals, I'm married to an Asian...my kids are partly -- I'm married to an Asian-American, my kids are 25% Filipino."

Jiang replied she didn't know that. Conway then retorted, "You're all so obsessed. I thought you knew."

President Donald Trump's senior aide Kellyanne Conway coined the term "alternative facts President Donald Trump's senior aide Kellyanne Conway coined the term "alternative facts" Photo: GETTY IMAGES / MARK WILSON