On Wednesday, the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before actress slammed the president in a post on her Instagram story, accusing him of endangering the Asian American community with his language.
“Be better. To wake up to your chaos is truly a nightmare. Please. Be better,” Condor began her note. “To my followers – be safe. I love you.”
The Vietnamese-born actress then continued, “You have no idea the ramifications your racist words & actions have on the Asian American community. You simply cannot even fathom the danger you are putting our community in. How dare you.”
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty; James Devaney/GC Images Lana Condor and Donald Trump
“You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself a leader?” Condor wrote. “You know what leaders do? They LEAD by setting good examples and ACTION. Something we’ve yet to see you do. You need to take notes on Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who is ACTUALLY leading – by donating tests and millions of masks to AMERICA, bc you haven’t.”
“Please. Be better,” she concluded. “So we aren’t afraid to leave out house in fear someone will verbally or physically abuse us because of your xenophobia.”
The World Health Organization named the mysterious new respiratory disease COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, on Feb. 11. In 2015, the organization clarified that disease names should not focus in on geographic locations.
Trump had used the term “Chinese Virus” in many of his tweets over the last week and has made a point to repeatedly mention that the virus came from China during press briefings, despite widespread backlash and the reluctance of some of his own aides to use similar language.
There have been multiple reported instances of violence against Asians in various countries in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus, underlining the risk of attaching a virus or disease to a particular country or ethnicity.
At a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Trump defended his choices after a reporter asked him if he was concerned about the harm it may bring on Asian Americans.
Lana Condor/ Instagram
“It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all,” Trump said. “It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”
“I have great love for all of the people from our country,” Trump continued. “But, as you know, China tried to say at one point — maybe they stopped now — that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen, not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.”
At that briefing, Trump was also asked about an unnamed White House official who, according to CBS reporter Weijia Jiang, called it the “Kung flu” to her in private. (She has not named the official.)
“I wonder who said that,” Trump said Wednesday. He did not answer when asked if he thought that usage was right or wrong.
The White House then issued a statement on Wednesday addressing the president’s comments.
“Spanish Flu. West Nile Virus. Zika. Ebola. All named for places. Before the media’s fake outrage, even CNN called it ‘Chinese Coronavirus,'” the White House posted on Twitter. “Those trying to divide us must stop rooting for America to fail and give Americans real info they need to get through the crisis.”
However, many disagree, and say that the president’s language is to blame.
“I absolutely think that words used by him matter,” John C. Yang, the president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, told NBC News. “Certainly use of this term by him and others even in the last couple of weeks have led to a noticeable incline in hate incidents that we are seeing. I do think that there is a correlation.”
A New York lawmaker told NBC that Trump’s language was “fueling xenophobia.”
“To continue calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus,’ is to basically be racist,” said Yuh-Line Niou, a member of the New York assembly. “It’s fueling the xenophobia we’re seeing all over our districts.”
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.