Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) blamed China for the coronavirus at a hearing meant to address the rise in attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) on Thursday complained that House Democrats were holding a hearing to examine why there has been a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he doesn't want to be blocked from blaming China for the virus.
"My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society — free speech — and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys," Roy said, adding that he believes the "Chinese Communist Party" are "the bad guys" for their handling of the coronavirus.
That kind of anti-China rhetoric — employed by Donald Trump and the GOP — is an example of what studies have shown has led to the surge in hate crimes against people of Asian descent in the United States.
A study from October found that racist comments made by Trump and other Republican lawmakers were to blame for the rise in violence.
"Some of this blame lies squarely on political leaders who have demonized China — both because of the virus and ongoing geopolitical tensions — and in turn Asian Americans have fallen in harm’s way," House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said in his opening remarks at the hearing.
"Words have power. What we say matters. How we treat each other matters," Nadler (D-NY) added.
The hearing is being held two days after six women of Asian descent were murdered at spas in Atlanta.
It's the latest in a spate of incidents involving the targeting of Asians living in the United States. The growing cases of violence have lead cities to boost security to try to prevent future attacks.
Democrats were aghast at Roy's statements.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), the first Asian American to be elected to Congress from New York, who testified at Thursday's hearing, criticized Roy's comments.
"I want to go back to something that Mr. Roy said earlier. Your president, and your party, and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want. But you don't have to do it by putting a bullseye on the back of Asian-Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids," Meng said, her voice breaking with emotion. "This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community, and to find solutions and we will not let you take our voice away from us."
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States, also criticized Roy's remarks.
"Dear Rep @chiproytx, Unlike you, I served on active duty in the US military. I'm aware of who the bad guys are. But today's hearing is about anti-Asian violence in the US. Americans who happen to be of Asian descent are being targeted. Get the difference?" Lieu tweeted.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.