Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum pressed Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Joe Biden's presidential campaign, on Wednesday after the Democratic operative accused President Donald Trump of using a "racial slur" by describing COVID-19 as a "Chinese virus."
McCallum asked Sanders if wouldn't it better for Biden to say "this is a moment to get behind our president," despite partisan disagreements.
A 'racial slur'
Sanders responded by acknowledging while "some of what he said today was good," Trump "also stood at the podium today and called the coronavirus, COVID-19, what I would suggest is a racial slur."
The Biden campaign's accusation that Trump is using "racist" language comes as other leading Democrats have also slammed the president for describing COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus" after Communist Party officials in Beijing blamed the United States for the pandemic.
On Wednesday, for instance, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Trump invoked "racist rhetoric" in his response to the Communist Party of China.
MacCallum slams Sanders
A visibly perplexed MacCallum fired back at the Biden campaign spokeswoman: "Why? Why is that? Why would it be to call it a 'Chinese virus' when it originated in China? Why is that a problem?"
"It is something that is offensive to many Americans," responded Sanders who began listing the things President Trump should be doing "instead of name calling."
MacCallum was having none of it and pressed Sanders on the history of naming viruses after regions and places.
"Do you know why it's called MERS?" MacCallum asked.
Sanders responded: "You tell me, Martha. You brought it up."
"Because it's called the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome," replied MacCallum. "Because that's where it originated. So this rabbit-hole of getting into this whole issue of racism I just think is so counter-productive to what we're trying to do here."
She added: "I just talked to this amazing scholar on China moments ago who said, absolutely, China at the leadership level has tried to obfuscate and be everything but transparent. Since the very beginning they've lied and lied and lied about this situation."
Sanders then deflected blame from China, telling MacCallum: "This is not about if China has been forthright and forthcoming. The reality is..."
"Yes, it is. That's exactly what this is about," MacCallum fired back .