HomeAsian AmericansRepublican Party's first Asian American chair defends 'China virus' usage

Republican Party’s first Asian American chair defends ‘China virus’ usage

Jennifer Carnahan, who made history as the Republican Party’s first Asian American chair, stunned advocacy groups last Tuesday by defending President Trump’s usage of ‘China virus,’ Resonate reports. 

In response, the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) and 18 other Asian American groups signed a statement protesting Carnahan’s stance Monday. 

The Minnesotan chair said terms such as ‘China virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus’ and ‘kung flu’ refer to COVID-19’s point of origin, rather than any attempt to demean the Asian population. 

“Our Caucus does not find any of the statements by the president to be offensive,” Jennifer Carnahan, a South Korean adoptee, said, according to Resonate. “When the president refers to the coronavirus as the China virus, he is simply talking about the country it originated in and a lot of other viruses in the past have been labeled as such.”

“I think that people are completely misconstruing his words and it has absolutely nothing to do with racism,” Carnahan added. 

CAAL and its allies, including the Asian American Organization Project (AAOP) and Asian Media Access, strongly disagreed, Bring Me the News reports. The statement cited the increase of anti-Asian hate incidents in the state since the start of the pandemic. 

“The labels ‘China Virus,’ ‘Wuhan Virus,’ or ‘Kung Flu’ exacerbate this racism and invite the general public to blame anyone who is perceived to be Chinese for causing this pandemic,” CAAL said, according to Bring Me the News. “The continued broadcasting of these terms through the megaphone of the president and the MN GOP chairwoman furthers the harm towards Asian American communities in Minnesota. This must stop immediately.”

KARE 11 reports Carnahan is leading the Republican Party’s outreach efforts in a state that is clearly divided: polls have shown Biden polling at 46.9 percent with President Trump a smidge behind at 46.5 percent. 

“I think there is no question that Minnesota is probably the top flip opportunity in the entire country in terms of the electoral map,” Carnahan said, KARE 11 reports. 

“And regarding Joe Biden, calling him ‘Beijing Biden,’ the concern that we all have with Joe Biden’s candidacy for president is that he won’t stand up to China,” Carnahan continued. “If Joe Biden is sitting in the White House in January, he is going to let China basically take over the entire world.”

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