A week ago, TRT World Now reported, “A 39-year-old Asian woman from New York City suffered severe burns across her body after someone sneaked up behind her as she was throwing out the trash and splashed her with acid.”
Also this month, NBC News reported, “Anti-Asian attacks surge since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.” CBS New York noted: “Teen charged with hate crime after allegedly attacking woman on bus, making anti-Asian comments.” KCRA-TV of Sacramento reported, “California groups tracks hate crimes against Asian Americans amid outbreak.”
Where does such vile bigotry come from? What is causing Americans to attack other Americans? Not what, but who. The president of the United States.
After wasting months calling COVID-19 a hoax, denying its seriousness and shipping supplies we now need overseas, Donald Trump decided the best way to fight the pandemic was to orchestrate a racist attack on people of Asian descent, Asian Americans included.
Bigotry built his base; he misses no chance to play this basest of games.
As Laura Clawson of The Daily Kos notes, “There is no crisis so great that Donald Trump won’t try to exploit it to increase the racial divisions and hate that helped propel him to power. That means coronavirus, too, and Trump’s use of ‘China virus’ or ‘Chinese virus’ for COVID-19 is having the intended effect: whipping up hatred against not just Chinese people but Asian people more generally.”
And as pointed out above, hate speech creates consequences.
“It’s not all verbal harassment, either,” Clawson reported. “A teenage boy in California’s San Fernando Valley had to go to the emergency room to be checked for a concussion after an attack, and at least two people in New York City have been assaulted while waiting for trains or buses.”
As noted previously, Trump’s loud, proud racist rants fall into the category of “stochastic terrorism.” Just think of it as stoking the fires of hatred.
One journalist saw a speech prepared for the president on the coronavirus and noted that the accurate scientific terminology had been crossed and Trump had written in “Chinese” virus instead.
Of course, Mr. Duplicity once sang a very different song when he was pushing for a trade deal with China.
George Zornak of the Huffington Post reports, “For weeks beginning in late January, Trump praised Chinese officials profusely for their response to the virus … Time and again, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the outbreak and even boasted of a U.S. partnership in helping China fight the virus – until Trump seemed to find a useful scapegoat.”
On Mar. 26, Raw Story documented that, at a coronavirus press conference, Trump was asked specifically, “What are the concrete measures that you are taking to combat the hate crimes against Asians?”
“Well, I don’t know,” said Trump.
Not vilifying other victims of the pandemic might be a start. But the very day before, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo torpedoed a joint statement on the virus by G-7 officials because, according to the Associated Press, they refused to identify “COVID-19 as the ‘Wuhan virus’ even though the World Health Organization and others have cautioned against giving it a geographic name because of its global nature. In recent weeks, Pompeo has stepped up his use of ‘Wuhan virus.’”
And last week, Huffington Post reported, “President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign released an ad Thursday that falsely implies a former governor, Obama administration Cabinet member and U.S. ambassador to China is a Chinese government official – indirectly reinforcing an insidious pattern of Asian Americans being seen as ‘other’ and being asked to prove they’re American.”
Stoke the hatred. That’s the Trump game plan. Try to divert attention from his lazy incompetence.