No question Trump's Covid rhetoric fed anti-Asian bias, says White House

Donald Trump

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday (local time) that former President Donald Trump's rhetoric around the coronavirus pandemic -- calling COVID-19 the "ChinaVirus" -- has contributed to discrimination against Asian Americans. The comments come in the wake of Tuesday's shootings in and around Atlanta that left several Asian women dead.

"I think there's no question that some of the damaging rhetoric that we saw during the prior administration calling COVID the "Wuhan virus" or other things led to perceptions of the Asian American community that are inaccurate, unfair, have raised, you know, threatening -- has elevated threats against Asian Americans. And we're seeing that around the country," Psaki said during a daily press briefing at The White House.

The Press secretary pointed to President Joe Biden's focus on the issue of anti-Asian American bias amid the pandemic, including a memo condemning and seeking to combat racism against Asian Americans, according to The Hill.

Biden denounced hate crimes against Asian Americans during a prime-time address last week marking one year since pandemic restrictions began, calling the violence "un-American."

The Hill citing NBC News reported this week that there were nearly 3,800 incidents of bias against Asian Americans reported over the past 12 months.

Trump has referred repeatedly to COVID-19 as the "ChinaVirus," the "Wuhan virus" and "kung flu" despite concerns that the rhetoric is contributing to racism against Asian Americans.

The suspect in the Atlanta massage parlors shooting spree has been charged with eight counts of murder, The New York Times reported citing local authorities.

At least eight people were shot dead late Tuesday at massage parlors around the Atlanta metropolitan area in the US state of Georgia. Police have taken the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, into custody.

Long was also charged with one count of aggravated assault in connection with the shootings.

The authorities said four of the murder counts and the assault charge originated from the first shooting incident, in Cherokee County, and the remaining four murder counts were connected with shootings at two massage parlors in the city of Atlanta shortly after.

The tragedy caused outrage and fear in the Asian-American community as the shootings claimed the lives of six women of Asian descent, although the suspect denied racial bias once in custody, the newspaper said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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