One would assume that in a time of crisis, or the spreading of a virus that was officially declared a pandemic, politicians and the President of the United States would display an ounce of decorum, but that does not align with the times the country is currently in. Texas Senator John Cornyn, like President Donald Trump, said that China is to blame for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
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In a video posted to social media from The Hill, Sen. Cornyn said, “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.”
Sen. John Cornyn: “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.” pic.twitter.com/N4TIlGFqAL
— The Hill (@thehill) March 18, 2020
His comment was immediately dismantled on social media.
Bakari Sellers, former representative for South Carolina, asked to revert back to “when being racist in public wasn’t cool.”
“@JohnCornyn is a member of the @SenateGOP and the @GOP had a meeting a week or so ago in which they came up with this strategy of using this racist dog whistle to try distract from the seriousness of the coronavirus because they’re responsible for many preventable deaths,” one user said.
Another tweeted, “The worst thing about this is that it is racist. Second worst thing is that it is inaccurate. Third worst thing is that John Cornyn, Senator from Texas, appears to not know what ‘Swine’ means.”
However, apparently racist folks like Sen. Cornyn thinks statements like these are appropriate because the president has been referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” When questioned about his use of the xenophobic term, which public health experts have said associating pandemics with an ethnic group can lead to discrimination, according to the New York Times, Trump denied that the phrase is racist.
REPORTER: “Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?”
TRUMP: “China tried to say at one point, maybe they’ve stopped now, that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen as long as I’m president.” pic.twitter.com/nujvs4ORI9
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) March 18, 2020
“It’s not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” he said defending his use of the term.
Trump was met with backlash as well.
“Don’t blame or attack Chinese/Asian people because of a virus your president failed at containing. This isn’t the Chinese Virus, it’s the Coronavirus. And Donald Trump is responsible for this current crisis in the United States,” one Twitter user wrote.
Don’t blame or attack Chinese/Asian people because of a virus your president failed at containing.
This isn’t the Chinese Virus, it’s the Coronavirus. And Donald Trump is responsible for this current crisis in the United States.
— Big Boss (@escapedmatrix) March 18, 2020
Another said, “Except Chinese Virus isn’t the name for coronavirus. And the head of the CDC himself says it’s wrong to use that racist moniker. Stop distracting and disgracing our country with your hateful, divisive rhetoric.”
The term #RacistInChief began trending on Twitter shortly after.
Trump and company’s racist rhetoric have clearly hit a new low.
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So I’m assuming going forward @JohnCornyn would have no issue with referring to every #MassShooting as a “White Mass Shooting” since virtually every mass shooting is perpetrated by a white guy … must be something about their “culture” … https://t.co/a0UrY3fvwl
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) March 18, 2020
Hope the Beer was worth it Senator.
You could have passed on Friday if you hadn’t left for Hawaii….
— Doug (@groundyourstand) March 18, 2020
This is so disgusting, dangerous, ignorant and reckless.
Imagine being a Chinese American now.
— Peter Zizzo (@pzizzo) March 18, 2020