Fox News reports two federally-run Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals during the Obama administration used the term “Kung Flu” in official materials, along with imagery of a monkey in a karate suit and a ninja wearing a flu mask, Fox News has learned.
President Trump’s use of the term “Kung Flu” to refer to the coronavirus has drawn accusations of racism and insensitivity, but the use of the term under the Obama administration has gone unreported.
In 2015, the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System’s official website urged patients to “Become a Kung Flu Fighter! Get Your Flu Shot!” The website has been taken down, but a copy of it was retained by an Internet archiving website.
The text was accompanied by an image of a ninja wearing a mask in an airborne, flying-kick posture.
The VA further urged visitors to “Click here to print Kung Flu Fighter poster!”
Also in 2015, the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center sent a mailer to patients reading: “Kung Flu — Knock it out before it knocks YOU out!”
The text is accompanied by a cartoon monkey in a karate outfit apparently kicking a virus molecule senseless.
A copy of that mailer remains online.
It was unclear why the hospitals were referencing “Kung Flu,” other than to make an attempt at humor. Unlike now, the term was not used during a pandemic when an outbreak began in China, as it did with COVID-19.
Trump referred to the coronavirus as “Kung Flu” on Saturday night during his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. McEnany was asked about the phrase multiple times during the briefing Monday.
CBS’ Weijia Jiang, a Trump critic, first brought up the topic, asking why the president uses “racist” terms such as “Kung Flu.” Jiang previously claimed that a White House official had used the term “Kung Flu,” but she has refused to name the official without explaining why.
“The president doesn’t, what the president does do is point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China. It’s a fair thing to point out, as China tries to ridiculously rewrite history… ridiculously blame the coronavirus on American soldiers,” McEnany said. “This is what China’s trying to do and what President Trump is saying, ‘No, China, I will label this virus for its place of origin.’”