Trump's anti-Asian hate speech could dog the GOP in 2022

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As the GOP fights to win Asian American voters, a new poll finds they blame Trump and Republican lawmakers for the rise in hate crimes against their community.

The vast majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders blame former President Donald Trump for the spike in hate crimes the AAPI community has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll out Sunday.

The poll found that nearly three-quarters of AAPI adults, or 71%, say Trump was part of the reason for the sharp increase in the number of anti-Asian hate crimes since March 2020, after Trump and GOP lawmakers began using racist and xenophobic language when talking about the coronavirus.

AAPI adults say the Republican lawmakers who used such language also bear responsibility for the rise in attacks, with 55% saying they are either a major or a minor reason for the discrimination.

The poll comes as Republicans are trying to win back AAPI adults, a fast-growing demographic group that is an important voting bloc in a number of states, including Georgia, Nevada, and Virginia, according to the Atlantic. Meanwhile, 48% of AAPI adults said Democratic lawmakers were not a reason for the rise in discrimination.

The poll's findings support the notion that Trump and GOP lawmakers threaten the party's efforts to attract more AAPI voters.

"This is new ground for political parties and candidates to lean into," the director of the nonprofit APIAVote, Christine Chen, told Politico. "We saw such a large growth of the AAPI electorate in 2020 — it's really going to be the next two elections that decide whether or not these voters become part of the base."

Trump repeatedly used racist and xenophobic language when talking about the coronavirus, defying public health experts and calling it the "Chinese virus" and the "kung flu."

Republican members of Congress parroted that same rhetoric.

A campaign memo distributed by the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in August 2020 told GOP lawmakers to blame China and "political correctness" for the virus. This summer, during a press conference held by a group of Republican lawmakers who are doctors ostensibly to convince unvaccinated Americans to get shots, the lawmakers used their platform to blame China for the virus.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll found that members of nearly every ethnic group under the AAPI umbrella blame Trump for the rise in hate crimes their communities have experienced, with 66% of Chinese Americans, 49% of Filipino Americans, 63% of Japanese Americans, 59% of Korean Americans, 54% of Vietnamese Americans, 38% of Pacific Islander Americans, and 52% of Indian Americans blaming him.

A national report released by Stop AAPI Hate in August that looked at hate incidents against the AAPI community from March 2020 through June 2021 found that there were more than 9,000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian hate, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault.

And a Pew Research Center poll in August found that 81% of Asian American adults said "violence against them is increasing."

The poll, which surveyed only English speakers, found 45% of Asian American adults reporting that they feared being physically attacked, were subject to "racial slurs or jokes," were told to "go back to their home country," or were blamed for the COVID-19 outbreak, or that people "acted as if they were uncomfortable around them."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.