Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) has had quite enough of President Donald Trump referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” and he’s letting Trump know that the harm being done to Asian Americans as a result of such rhetoric is very real.
In a column he wrote for the Washington Post, Lieu notes that Trump’s endless references to COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus” only serve to “harm both to Asian Americans and to the White House’s response to this life-threatening pandemic,” adding:
“I cannot stand idly by while the president uses his pulpit to exacerbate xenophobia in a time of crisis.”
Lieu goes on to remind Trump that the World Health Organization has repeatedly discouraged the use of geographic locations when referring to infectious diseases and that such language will only result in violence against Asian Americans, and he provides examples of such attacks:
“Asian Americans have been assaulted or otherwise discriminated against because of such rhetoric. In New York, a man assaulted an Asian woman wearing a face mask and called her a ‘diseased b—h.”’Also in New York, a man on the subway sprayed an Asian passenger with Febreze and verbally abused him. On the subway in Los Angeles, a man ranted at an Asian American woman, claiming Chinese people are putrid and responsible for all diseases.”
China, Lieu points out, has actually been helpful in controlling the spread of the disease, and is offering help to other nations that have been impacted by coronavirus:
“Though the Chinese government certainly made mistakes at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, we can learn a lot from Chinese doctors and scientists who were on the front lines of this crisis and also cooperate and get vital medical equipment and supplies. China recently sent doctors, ventilators, face masks and protective suits to Italy.”
The California Democrat concludes his op-ed by reminding the president he needs to do his job and stop vilifying others:
“For the president to continue using rhetoric that the Chinese find insulting is not helpful. It is not one country’s problem to solve. We are in a worldwide, life-threatening pandemic, and we all need to work together. I wish the president could set aside his xenophobia for the moment while we try to keep Americans from dying.”
Hatred and name-calling won’t help at this time of national crisis. We need a leader who can bring us together, not one who pits us against each other for his own political gain.
Featured Image Via NBC News