Since March, a coalition of Asian American advocacy groups and scholars has been collecting and documenting the alarming surge in anti-Asian racism related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The thousands of incidents, from respondents across the country, have ranged from being called racial slurs, being spat on and/or physically assaulted, as well as being denied services, experiencing workplace discrimination and other potential civil rights violations.
On Wednesday, the group, STOP AAPI HATE, laid the blame right at the feet of President Donald Trump, unveiling research that concludes Trump is by far the most influential “superspreader” of anti-Asian racism.
Throughout this year, Trump has routinely used racist slurs and epithets to refer to COVID-19. He also frequently blames China, placing an outsized focus on where the virus originated, in order to deflect from his own catastrophic response to the pandemic.
In a new report, University of Michigan professor Melissa Borja and a team of researchers analyzed tweets from all of this year’s presidential, vice presidential and U.S. Senate candidates that mentioned the pandemic or Asian Americans, from January through the end of August.
Trump is by far the “main source of the rhetoric that stigmatizes Asian and Asian American people,” Borja said during a press briefing, referring to both the frequency of his tweets and their reach and engagement.
The advocates and researchers stressed that while both parties have criticized the Chinese government and Chinese leaders’ initial handling of COVID-19, only Trump and Republicans have actively used scapegoating language, which leads to racism and xenophobia against Chinese Americans and anyone of Chinese or East Asian descent.
For example, 136 of the tweets used or defended racist terms like “Chinese virus.” All of them came from Republicans.
The analysis of the tweets found that Democrats did not use such stigmatizing rhetoric. And as for any politicians...