The fact that President Donald Trump attacked the official US state broadcasting outlet, Voice of America, as an organ of Chinese government propaganda (NPR, 4/10/20) is a testament to just how important anti-China rhetoric is to his political strategy in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic. In context, VOA is simply not aggressive enough in pushing the narrative the administration wants to get out there. But the administration has other avenues.
Trumpist quackery takes on a few key forms, one being that the Chinese government is responsible for unleashing the virus on the world as some act of germ warfare, and the other being that scientific wisdom on responding to the crisis is liberal fakery meant to unnecessarily cripple the economy. We can’t disregard these as lunatic conspiracy theories on the fringes. These speculations, rumors and outright lies have a way of starting in partisan media and bubbling up to a level where they affect our political discourse and public health.