In his East Room remarks, Biden called out the ‘vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.’
‘At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, are on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still, still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,’ Biden continued. ‘It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop.’
President Joe Biden defended Asian-Americans during his Thursday night primetime address, his first as president, calling hate crimes agaist Asians ‘wrong’ and ‘un-American’
Former President Donald Trump again used the racist term ‘China Virus’ in a statement sent out from his Mar-a-Lago office, taking credit for the U.S. government’s swift vaccine effort
Biden’s comments come one day after Trump, again, used the racist phrase ‘China virus’ in a statement taking credit for the swift development of COVID-19 vaccines.
‘I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China virus) vaccine, that if I wasn’t president, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful “shot” for five years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all.’ the ex-president wrote.
Biden previously made moves to stop usage of the term by signing an executive order titled ‘Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States‘ on day No. 6 of his presidency.
‘The Federal Government must recognize that it has played a role in furthering these xenophobic sentiments through the actions of political leaders, including references to the COVID-19 pandemic by the geographic location of its origin,’ the order said.
‘Such statements have stoked unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and have contributed to increasing rates of bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI persons,’ it continued.
Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, whose wife is Korean-American, applauded Biden’s sentiment after the speech.
‘Our family greatly appreciates the president’s comments condemning the awful rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. It truly is “un-American and it must stop,”‘ Hogan tweeted, sharing a photo of his mixed race family.
The group Stop APPI Hate said in February that it received 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and Washington, D.C. from March 19, 2020 to the end of last year.
In January, an 84-year-old Asian-American man was killed in an attack in San Francisco, which the family believed to be racially motivated.
Video went viral of who police identified as 19-year-old Antoine Watson, slamming Vicha Ratanapakdee to the ground.
Video went viral of who police identified as 19-year-old Antoine Watson (upper right corner), slamming 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee to the ground, killing him
84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was attacked in San Francisco in January, with family members believing his killing was racially motivated
‘If you see video, there’s nothing non-intentional about it,’ Ratanapakdee’s step-son, Eric Lawson told KTVU, Fox’s Bay Area affiliate. ‘For him to come from all the way across the street, what else could have motivated him?’ he said of Watson’s actions.
In February, video came out of a 91-year-old man in Oakland, California’s Chinatown neighborhood being pushed to the ground, also during daytime hours.
National Public Radio reported Thursday that an updated count from Stop APPI Hate stood at more than 3,000 incidents.
‘What we’ve discovered isn’t that we’ve just had a spike, but we’ve had a surge over the entire year last year with COVID-19 and with the president’s political rhetoric in the last administration,’ Russell Jeung, a co-founder of the coalition and a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, told NPR.
Trump defended using ‘China virus’ a day before Stop APPI Hate started tracking anti-Asian hate crimes.
‘It’s not racist at all,’ Trump said at a coronavirus taskforce press briefing on March 18. ‘No, not at all.’
He said he used the term ‘because it comes from China.’
‘That’s why,’ he continued. ‘I want to be accurate.’
Even then, there were already dozens of reports of bias against Chinese-Americans in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.