A non-partisan Asian American group Tuesday condemned redbaiting tactics by Republican Rep Michelle Steel and rescinded its endorsement of her.
Steel is the incumbent running against Democrat Jay Chen, a Taiwanese American Democrat, in Orange County’s District 45 which also includes Little Saigon.
“The members of Asian Americans for Good Government Political Action Committee are extremely concerned and disturbed by the accusations, negative advertisement, and red-baiting that are coming from the 45the Congressional district race,” AAGG-PAC said in its statement. “Promotion of these stereotypes and false accusations could lead to an increase in AAPI Hate incidents and discrimination. AAGG-PAC does not tolerate this type of campaigning. Because of these actions and the risk they present to the community, AAGG-PAC officially withdraws our endorsement for Michelle Steel for the 45th Congressional district.”
The AAGG-PAC listed four main concerns stating the tactics would undermine AAPI unity, promote interethnic conflict, increase interracial hatred and violence and perpetuate the stereotype of Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners.
Also on Tuesday, The Committee of 100, a non-profit group made up of 100 Chinese American leaders, also condemned Steel.
“A Congressional race between two candidates of Asian descent should be an opportunity to highlight the diversity and achievement of the Asian American community. Instead, one candidate is using racist attacks and advertisements to question the patriotism and loyalty of an American military veteran,” said Zhengyu Huang, President, Committee of 100, in a statement to AsAmNews. “These racist attacks perpetuate the harmful and inaccurate stereotypes that foment the anti-Asian hate and violence plaguing our country. It is especially harmful when these unfounded attacks come from members of our own community. We will not allow this behavior to divide the Asian American community. We call on Congresswoman Steel to remove these negative ads and focus on the issues.”
LAist also recently reported that members of the Vietnamese American community have also denounced Steel for falsely painting Chen, a Taiwanese American, as a communist.
One of the mailers from Steel showed a photoshopped image of Chen carrying a copy of the communist manifesto in a classroom. Campaign signs that use the colors of the Chinese flag label Chen as “China’s choice.”
On Saigon Entertainment Television, news anchor Dzung Do held up the mailers and debunked the claims in them and protested against “people taking advantage of anti-communist sentiment.”
Do has not endorsed either candidate, but said he just wanted voters to know the facts.
The newspaper Viet-Bao published an op-ed warning its readers to beware of disinformation.
Steel and Chen are in a tight race.
Earlier this month, Politico rated the district as “leaning Republican.”
AsAmNews attempted to profile both of these candidates in a high profile race that can help determine which party controls Congress. Chen agreed to an interview, but Steel has yet to respond to our numerous requests.
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