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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., introduced a resolution condemning “anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19,” including use of the phrase “Wuhan Virus.”
The former presidential candidate introduced the bill on behalf of a number of Democrats to condemn “all manifestations or expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance” and “to expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes, incidents, and threats against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the United States.”
The resolution claims a study found over 400 cases of anti-Asian discrimination related to COVID-19 between February 7 and March 9.
The resolution takes particular aim at phrases such as “Wuhan virus,” “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” for perpetrating “anti-Asian stigma.”
It calls on the U.S. to “recommit” to building an inclusive society by “prioritizing language access and inclusivity in communication practices.”
Trump began calling COVID-19 “Chinese Virus” soon after rumors began circulating among Chinese officials that coronavirus found its origin in the U.S. Army, and he rejected objections from the media that the term might be “racist.” However, he said in late March that if China continued to protest the name he’d stop using it.
“If you look at Ebola, right, if you look at Lyme in Connecticut, you look at all these different horrible diseases, they seem to come with a name with a location,” he said. “I don’t have to say it if they feel so strongly about it, we’ll see.”
Harris, along with Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, last month announced their intention to bring forward the resolution. Duckworth accused Trump of “inappropriate and racist efforts” to “rebrand” the disease.
“Inflammatory and racist rhetoric from officials at the highest level of our government has contributed to a disturbing rise in hate-crimes targeting Asian Americans,” said Hirono.
Meanwhile, Republicans have sought to hold China accountable for withholding information in the early days of coronavirus. On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Chinese government over its coronavirus handing.
"They suppressed the evidence. They suppressed the doctors. They jailed the doctors even. And now we're dealing with this terrible disease," the senator said. "So the victims of this disease in our country ought to be able to go to our courts and sue the Chinese government to hold them accountable and to get damages for it."