During a phone interview with Fox News on Tuesday night, Donald Trump again referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “China virus.” The former president used the racist term prior to a white gunman venturing out on a deadly shooting spree in Georgia, targeting Asian-owned spas.
In an interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump said: “We got [the economy] to a level that the world has never seen before. We were the envy of the world and then when we got hit by the—as I call it the China virus, COVID—it obviously went down with every other economy.”
As a result of the attack, eight people were killed, six of which were Asian American women. Police arrested 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long in connection with the shootings, all of which happened an hour apart at three separate spas located in the metro Atlanta area.
Trump’s usage of the anti-Chinese slur “China virus” and “kung flu” began last year as the pandemic ravaged our everyday routines, further exposing the vast inequities minority communities face across the globe.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Trump spent the better part of a year using a virus as a slur against Chinese people while hate crimes against Asian Americans spiked by 150 percent,” Vox journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted.
“Top Chef” host Padma Laskshmi, who migrated to America from India at the age of four, also expounded on Trump’s usage of the racial slur.
On Tuesday night as individuals mourned, the hashtag #StopAsianHate trended on social media.
In the midst of a pandemic, Black and minority communities continue to grapple with repeated vigilante and police violence.
Because words actually mean things, they can also infiltrate the collective consciousness, especially when racial slurs are used by a sitting president. In the past two months, hate crimes against Asian communities have spiked resulting in grandmothers, grandfathers and young people of AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) descent being subjugated to random, yet targeted threats.
The violence on Tuesday directly impacted women who are affected the most. Asian women are routinely stereotyped as docile and subservient, as well as sensual and erotic.
“We are appalled and devastated at the violence in Georgia that has taken eight lives, six of whom were Asian American women,” National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow said in a released statement. “We mourn with the families of these victims. We are horrified and continue to be concerned for the safety of our community members across the country as violence toward Asian Americans has escalated. Elected officials in Georgia must support these families and speak up immediately against hate and violence directed at the Asian American community.”
“We cannot ignore the fact that anti-Asian hate and violence disproportionately impacts women. More than 68 percent of reported incidents of anti-Asian harassment and violence have been from women,” Choimorrow continued. “New polling commissioned by NAPAWF has revealed that nearly half of Asian American and Pacific Islander women have been affected by anti-Asian racism in the past two years. This comes as no surprise. Even before the pandemic and the racist scapegoating that came in its wake, AAPI women routinely experienced racialized misogyny. Now, our community, and particularly women, elders, and workers with low-wage jobs, are bearing the brunt of continued vilification.”
While law enforcement maintains Long was a porn addict who targeted locations that he frequented as a result of his addiction, the majority of his victims belonged to a community with a rich and storied legacy.
The fact that eight people were killed, the majority of whom were Asian Americans, cannot be understated or denied. The ramped-up violence against AAPI community members is one that should be examined under the lens of language and how it can be used to officiate more vigilante violence against minority community members.
Violent White Folks Who Were Taken Into Custody With Loving Care By Police
1. Miami airport violence
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Last night at Miami Int’l Airport. Another FL anti-masker covidiot. (Strong language). pic.twitter.com/kO18bBFPTb— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) August 28, 2021
2. Floyd Ray Roseberry
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NEW: “The revolution is on. It’s here… I’m ready to die for the cause.”— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 19, 2021
Here’s video from the man who said he’s got a bomb outside the Capitol.
Follow @huffpost and @sara_bee for more as the situation develops. pic.twitter.com/aRx1hES7Vl
3. Jeffrey Nicholas
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Jeffrey Nicholas, a white man shot and killed two police officers and injured a city worker in Texas before he was able to be safely apprehended without law enforcement resorting to using lethal force.https://t.co/sLhFwxZHgg pic.twitter.com/yWd0XUg7Og— NewsOne (@newsone) May 13, 2021
4. Robert Aaron Long, suspect in Asian massage parlor killing spree in GASource:Crisp County Sheriff's Office 4 of 32
5. Duke Webb, bowling alley gunman in Rockford, IllinoisSource:Winnebago County Sheriff's Office 5 of 32
6. Car Drives Into Group Of Protesters In New YorkSource:Getty 6 of 32
7. Brad Parscale, demoted former Trump campaign managerSource:Getty 7 of 32
8. Brett HankisonSource:Shelby County Sheriff's Department 8 of 32
9. Thomas Kinworthy accused of killing Black cop, shooting another9 of 32
10. Dalton Potter allegedly shot a cop and another man
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BLUE ALERT issued for Dalton Potter, age 29. Potter is suspected of shooting a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office deputy overnight. Last known to be on foot on Interstate 75 at the Whitfield/Gordon County line. Potter is considered armed and dangerous. Call 911. #BlueAlert pic.twitter.com/Vdyl8ReGaW— GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) September 7, 2020
11. White suspect physically attacking officer
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Interesting.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 30, 2020
Thinking about Jacob Blake right now. Sure seems like white people get the benefit of the doubt when engaged with the police... pic.twitter.com/kLh9iCJepp
12. Kyle Rittenhouse, Kenosha Jacob Blake shooterSource:Twitter 12 of 32
13. White supremacist who beat a woman on video
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Nicholas Arnold Schock, 36, of Wauchula was arrested and charged with battery and disturbing the peace and bail was set at $620. He remains at the Sarasota County Jail. pic.twitter.com/ggDBjAxCN1— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) August 2, 2020
14. West Hollywood shooter14 of 32
15. Gregory and Travis McMichaelsSource:Glynn County Sheriff's Office 15 of 32
16. Anthony J. Trifiletti, shot an unarmed Black manSource:Saint Paul Police Department 16 of 32
17. Matthew Bernard, Killed Three People17 of 32
18.18 of 32
19. Mark Boisey19 of 32
20. Lorne BrownSource:NBC Miami 20 of 32
21. Patrick Crusius, El Paso Mall Mass Shooting Suspect
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Patrick Crusius allegedly wrote a racist manifesto before killing at least 18 people in Saturday's shooting at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. The suspect, a white male, was safely taken into custody.— NewsOne (@newsone) August 3, 2019
This is America. #Walmartshooting #ElPasoShootinghttps://t.co/cjYzJZsCXn
22. Aaron DeanSource:Tarrant County Jail 22 of 32
23. Amber Guyger23 of 32
24. James Holmes
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Today on #CrimeStories: Prosecutors have released video of #Aurora shooter #JamesHolmes’ interviews w/ a psychiatrist. Tune in now on @SiriusXM ch. 111 for insight on the evaluation of his sanity in the #Colorado theater massacre. #NancyGrace #CrimeAlert #CrimeOnline #MassKiller pic.twitter.com/DKRD2s0ay8— Crime Online (@crimeonlinenews) February 26, 2019
25. Michael Mattioli25 of 32
26. Dylann RoofSource:Getty 26 of 32
27. Matthew Sloan Punched And Spit On Police...
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Again, if Matthew Sloan was a Black man this would be a much different story. https://t.co/K4cwb6SQ38— NewsOne (@newsone) July 12, 2019
28. Assaulted Police And Even Chased Them...
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This man never complied— Gambling Refund 💵™ (@OffshoreRefund) May 14, 2019
This man actually hit police multiple times
This man chased police and made them fear for safety
This man was not killed!
Pamela Turner was murdered and pregnant, she was never given the same opportunity. WHY? @KingJamespic.twitter.com/DfzdICbOy8
29. Shot At Police At Trump Tower...29 of 32
30. Shot At Police At Walmart -- And Was Let Go...30 of 32
31. Man Holds Black Man At Gunpoint And He Is Calmly Arrested...
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Downtown CHARLOTTESVILLE right now. F*ing white trash has a black man submitted first with a knife around his neck, then makes him kneel still threatening to stab him.— ℕ𝕠𝕥 𝕓𝕚𝕡𝕠𝕝𝕒𝕣 𝕥𝕠𝕕𝕒𝕪 (@tomorrowtambien) December 28, 2018
Please, Twitter do your thing in the name of justice #resist @washingtonpost @MSNBC pic.twitter.com/klg7g5ac22