UPDATED 10:40 AM PT – Monday, April 19, 2021
In the fight against COVID-19, Joe Biden seems to be prioritizing hollow symbolic gestures over policies with a measurable impact on the welfare and health of American citizens.
Biden signed a memo banning federal agencies from referring to the coronavirus by terms related to its geographic origin, such as China or Wuhan virus.
While no direct mention of President Trump is made, the memo does specifically blame “the actions of political leaders” for “furthering xenophobic sentiments” against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. This is a clear allusion to Biden’s previous attempts to shift focus away from the Trump administration’s achievements in fighting the pandemic towards concerns over political correctness.
“Labelling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been made thus far by the Trump administration. Let me be crystal clear. The coronavirus does not have a political affiliation,” Biden stated. “It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code.”
Among the sparse number of specific measures dictated by the memo is instructing federal agencies to review the use of these terms in existing policy directives or government publications. This, despite a recent review by CBS News finding “no specific reference to China virus” in any COVID-19 related executive orders issued by President Trump.
Critics pointed out the memo seems to be politically motivated, targeting specific terms employed by President Trump without making any mention of hate crimes against other communities, some of which may have been the victim of hatred stoked by Democrat politicians and left-wing activists.
The year following the election marked a watershed moment in evolving American attitudes towards Russians. According to Gallup in 2016, only 39 percent of Americans viewed Russia as a “critical threat” to the U.S.
By 2019, that number had escalated to 52 percent.
This shift was clearly demarcated by political ideology. In 2016, Gallup found no measurable difference between Democrats and Republicans in their attitudes to Russia. Whereas three years later, 46 percent of Democrats reported believing it to be America’s greatest enemy, compared to only 14 percent of Republicans.
Moreover, the move may be a gift to Chinese attempts at redefining international discourse about the pandemic.
Xi Jinping’s regime has consistently sought to distract attention away from the origins of the virus. Both by the spread of unfounded conspiracy theories claiming it originated outside of China, or even that it was deliberately introduced to Wuhan by the U.S. military, and by directly silencing would-be whistleblowers within the medical profession.
It also blocked the flow of information out of Wuhan during the early stages of the pandemic. This delayed international efforts to combat the outbreak at a crucial time when it could have been contained from spreading across the world, as evidenced by recently surfaced recordings of phone calls by World Health Organization officials.
“We have informally and formally been requesting more epidemiological information,” WHO representative to China Dr. Gauden Galea stated. “Specifically, what was the date of onset of the last case and even that one line of information would have been, already been helpful. But all we are getting in return for that question is, there’s a new update that’s going to come out, they’re working on this. It may be, but then when asked for specifics, we could get nothing.”
According to the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post, which is owned by the Alibaba Group, this act by Biden is playing right into Beijing’s hand.