Two months ago, President Trump was gushing with praise for the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus. “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” he tweeted on January 24, “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”
But over the last month, Trump pivoted hard to Sinophobia. He and his supporters have obsessively identified the virus with China, threatened vague retaliation, and insinuated anybody failing to follow suit might be secretly in bed with Chinese communists. The entire Trumpist messaging apparatus has thrown itself behind this message. Trump crossed out “corona” on his prepared remarks and wrote over it “Chinese.”
Trump’s State Department blew up a G-7 summit over its insistence on using the term “Wuhan virus.” The National Security Council’s official Twitter account got in on the act:
“Anyone praising China’s ‘leadership’ in responding that the virus should be scorned for being the authoritarian/communist propagandist that they are,” insisted Donald Trump, Jr.
That was yesterday. Today, President Trump seemed to forget the whole thing, tweeting out more praise for China’s leadership and cooperation in containing the coronavirus:
The main thing standing between the United States and full-on Orbanism has been the fact that Big Brother has the attention span of a small, sugar-addled child. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia. But Eastasia … has done a tremendous job, I have to say, I had a beautiful slice of chocolate cake with Eastasia’s leaders and we’re great friends.