An ad calling out President Trump for his anti-Chinese rhetoric that is believed to have affected all Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 crisis will air in battleground states weeks into the November election.
The ad, produced by the Immigrants’ List Civic Action, runs for 60 seconds and highlights headlines of Asian Americans suffering from hate crimes, which have surged since the pandemic wreaked havoc in March.
The video shows Trump using the terms “Chinese flu,” Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” in reference to COVID-19 and its causative agent, which critics believe may have influenced the increase in racist and xenophobic attacks against all Asian Americans regardless of ethnicity. In a separate instance, he referred to it as the “China plague.”
“Trump has denigrated people in the Asian American community by the language he has used, and it has effects, and that’s why we called [the ad] ‘Words Matter,'” Ira Kurzban, founder of Immigrants’ List, told The Hill. “[It’s] not just the hostile things he’s said, it’s the outcomes as a result of that—the anti-Asian discriminatory attitude that it creates … and allows those people who are racially biased to begin with to feel free. Because they see the president of the country doing it, they may feel free to go out and not only say horrible things but to actually do things and some of this has already had consequences.”
The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
Titled “Words Matter,” the ad is one of several appealing to marginalized or minority groups that will be released in battleground states before the presidential election. These include Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Immigrants’ List is reportedly aiming to sway the growing number of Pacific Islander voters in those states. According to the group, Florida has nearly 300,000, Michigan has about 91,300, Pennsylvania has nearly 130,000 and Wisconsin has some 30,700.
In March, Trump called for the protection of Asian Americans after hearing “a little bit of nasty language” toward the group. However, he has routinely blamed China for COVID-19, and it’s unclear if he’s actually aware of the hate crime statistics.
….is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
Over 2,500 anti-Asian American incidents were reported between March 19 and Aug. 5, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition monitoring discrimination against the community. The attacks were collected from 47 states and Washington, D.C.
“These are very, very alarming and are not helped by President Trump who calls this the ‘Chinese virus,’” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), told MSNBC in late March. “Every responsible healthcare leader has spoken out and said that it should be called by its proper name: coronavirus or COVID-19.”
Feature Image Screenshots via Immigrants’ List Civic Action