Washington, DC — In recent days, President Trump began using the phrase “Chinese Virus” to describe the coronavirus. This puts Asian Americans in harm’s way and is yet another example of the president’s long history of attacking communities of color. This bigotry is also spreading to other leading public officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. John Cornyn, who recently responded to a question about coronavirus by blaming China and citing “the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that.” The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera:
Note: Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.
“During a time of national crisis when many Americans are scared and suffering, we need our leaders to unite the country, not divide us for political gain. President Trump’s use of the term ‘Chinese Virus’ to describe the coronavirus is vile and a distraction. Sen. Cornyn’s embrace of schoolyard, anti-Asian stereotypes about eating bats and dogs is deeply offensive and won’t help us fight the virus. Racism is not a disinfectant.
These harmful words have serious, real-world consequences. By whipping up anti-Asian hysteria, President Trump, Cornyn and other public officials resorting to xenophobia are giving people a license to hate and threaten Asian Americans. Let’s be clear: President Trump and his allies are once again stoking racism to distract from the truth: his administration has failed to protect the American people from possibly the gravest health and economic catastrophe in our lifetimes. President Trump, we are in a crisis. Do your job. Focus on tests, ventilators and hospital beds, not childish, schoolyard epithets."