Trump is to blame for the 2,700 racist attacks on Asians in the US since March


A new report shows Trump's divisive rhetoric has spurred racist incidents against those of Asian descent.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, at least 2,700 racist incidents against Asian Americans have been reported around the country, according to a new report.

The report was created by STOP AAPI HATE, a coalition of Asian American advocacy groups and researchers.

The racist incidents included workplace discrimination, being denied service at businesses, being spat on, verbal abuse, and physical assault.

A team of researchers led by University of Michigan professor Melissa Borja also tracked racist and xenophobic statements made by Republican politicians over an eight-month period.

Out of 1,227 tweets about Asian Americans, more than 1 in 10 tweets included "racist or stigmatizing language," the researchers found.

Two of the most frequent offenders were Donald Trump and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK).

Trump has frequently made use of racist terms like "Wuhan virus," "kung flu," and "Chinese virus" in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

The report found that the racist remarks came exclusively from Republicans.

By contrast, supportive comments toward Asian Americans dealing with racism came exclusively from Democrats, with one exception.

Last week, international human rights experts at the United Nations published a document expressing their "serious concern" about racist violence against Asian Americans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document was commissioned by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, from which the United States withdrew in 2018. Nikki Haley, Trump's ambassador to the U.N. at the time, called the council "hypocritical and self-serving."

The document's authors wrote that U.S. authorities have "utterly failed" to take necessary steps to "detect, monitor, and prevent racist and xenophobic incidents."

"One result of this state of impunity is that many victims of such attacks are reportedly reluctant to seek justice," the experts wrote.

The U.N. document reported verbal attacks, vandalism, stabbings, and other acts of violence leveled against Asian Americans during the pandemic.

The document also noted that slurs about the "China virus" are often part of these rhetorical and physical attacks, and argued that Trump himself has aided in "legitimizing these violations.”

One of the U.N. document's authors, E. Tendayi Achiume, is a special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

Achiume told NBC News that government leaders' divisive rhetoric can foster "an environment where violence is more permissible and attacks are more permissible."

"It really does legitimize those kinds of acts," she added.

Trump has defended his racist remarks against Asian Americans.

In August, Trump told talk show host Geraldo Rivera that he has "great Asian support," and that Asian Americans "understand exactly" why he uses racist terms to discuss the pandemic.

"They understand how China has hurt our country, you know, very much," he said.

But an August poll found that 66% of Asian Americans disapproved of how Trump has handled the pandemic. More than 60% of all registered voters said racist terms like "kung flu" and "China virus" are inappropriate.

Despite the significant harm his divisive rhetoric has caused Asian Americans, Trump isn't likely to dial back his racist rhetoric any time soon.

At a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, Trump went back to blaming China for the virus' spread in the U.S.

"The battle against the China virus, the China virus, that's what it is," Trump said. "It's a China. You know, they call it COVID. They call it all different names. It's the China virus. China, maybe the China Plague."

Achiume said she hopes the Trump administration will take action to protect Asian Americans against further racist attacks, but added that lasting change will likely have to come from the American people themselves.

"These are problems that have to be solved from within the U.S., rather than expecting that some kind of international cavalry will come in and solve the problem," she told NBC News. "I think that's just not how we get change in the world."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.