Ted Lieu Celebrates Rise in Asian American Voters, Rebukes Trump’s “China Virus” Rhetoric

Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) pointed to a new study published in The American Journal of Public Health that found former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric led to a rise of anti-Asian sentiment online to suggest that Asian voters cost him the presidency.

“Asian Americans are the fastest increasing group in America, with eligible voters more than doubling since 2000,” Lieu tweeted this morning. “In states like CA, [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders] are the 2nd largest ethnic group. The former President attacked & mocked Asian Americans. We voted. He lost. Attack us at your own peril.”

The study, which reviewed 1.2 million hashtags during the week of March 16, 2020––the first time Trump used the phrase “China virus” in a post––found that there was a “massive increase” in use of the hashtag #chinesevirus in reference to the Covid-19 pandemic. #chinesevirus eventually overtook #covid19 in popularity.

You can read the study HERE.

Human rights groups have expressed concern that the use of the phrase would contribute to an uptick in anti-Asian violence with numerous places around the country reporting random attacks against Asian citizens. A national conversation on anti-Asian violence has taken center-stage again since authorities arrested a gunman who shot and killed eight people and injured one at three Atlanta-area spas earlier this week. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.

Lieu’s remarks come a day after Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) blamed Trump for stoking anti-Asian sentiment.

“When I first heard the former president use words like ‘kung flu’ and ‘Chinese virus,’ I was really horrified. And every time he said it, I thought, okay, this will be the last time. He couldn’t possibly continue to use it,” Meng said during an appearance on former President Bill Clinton’s “Why Am I Telling You This?” podcast yesterday.

And even the WHO, the World Health Organization, even his own secretary of health suggested that we don’t use words like that, but he continued, and so, while racially motivated harassment of Asian Americans is a longstanding issue and certainly didn’t start last year. But since COVID-19 began, the incidents have been nonstop,” she added.

Meng said Trump’s actions contributed to the spike in anti-Asian violence because “when you have a leader in this country who has a tremendous platform, use words and fuel false facts and misinformation about the virus and it’s perpetuated by the leaders, the top leaders of the Republican party in the White House and in the Congress, what happens is people, Asian Americans are getting shoved, assaulted, spat on.”