By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The House of Representatives voted Thursday to formally condemn racism targeting Asian-Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The resolution, first introduced by congresswoman Grace Meng, was passed in a 243-164 vote. It condemns all forms of racism targeting the Asian-American community tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among its provisions it calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiments, and calls on federal law enforcement to investigate and document credible reports of hate crimes against Asian-Americans and hold perpetrators to account.
“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Asian Americans have been forced to endure demeaning and disgusting acts of bigotry and hate, consisting of everything from verbal assaults to physical attacks,” Meng said in a statement shortly after her resolution cleared the House.
She singled out in particular language used by prominent Republicans, including President Donald Trump, that critics including Meng have warned is xenophobic and scapegoats the community.
"The rise in anti-Asian rhetoric and the blaming of Asian Americans for the spread of the coronavirus has been shameful and reckless, particularly when it comes from our nation’s leaders such as President Trump, Majority Leader McCarthy and many others who have used terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ to stoke people’s fears of COVID-19," she said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whom Meng referenced in her statement, called the resolution a "diversion," and said "there is no kitchen in America that thinks this is the priority."
“At the heart of this resolution is the absurd notion that referring to the virus as a Wuhan virus or the China virus is the same as contributing to violence against Asian-Americans, which I will tell you nobody on this side of the aisle supports,” McCarthy said. "What makes today's resolution is that it does not stop discrimination. It simply spreads disinformation."