When the pandemic hit the United States, Trump began to refer to Covid-19 as “the Chinese virus,” “the China virus,” and other xenophobic terms. In the week after he first tweeted it, studies show the number of Covid-related social media posts with anti-Asian hashtags steeply climbed.
In the POLITICO / Morning Consult survey, 71 percent of AAPI adults said the ex-president was an important or minor reason for discriminating against their community.
Sixty-six percent of Chinese respondents named Trump as one of the main reasons – the highest among any ethnic group. Pacific Islands residents were the least likely to blame Trump, although 55 percent still said he was an important or minor cause. Citizens and non-citizens had a 20 percentage point difference (74 percent and 54 percent, respectively) when they said Trump was a ground for discrimination.
Cliff Li, chairman of the Asian-American Republicans National Committee, said many Asian Republicans were initially upset by Trump’s explosion on the political scene. In 2016, Li was an advisor to the Trump campaign, noting that many conservative Chinese Americans valued the candidate’s “outsider” status. They also looked for a change in President Barack Obama’s policies on the economy, education, and national security.
Still, during the pandemic, AAPIs were increasingly fought off by Trump’s anti-immigration and anti-China rhetoric. In 2020, Li’s organization officially supports Joe Biden a week before the election.
“Especially around this time last year, a lot of people are feeling disoriented and really feeling hurt. Some conservatives think, ‘We’re part of the team, but why did you suddenly turn against us?’ “Said Li, who no longer supports Trump. “So, you know, the feeling that they were used.”
But there’s also one confusing data point, notes Wong: Yes, AAPI adults blame Trump. But from 2016 to 2020 there was a slight increase in his support among Asian Americans.
“It’s hard to say that he was actually punished,” said Wong. “Well, it was before the Atlanta attacks, so the context may change. We don’t know what it will look like, it’s not on the ballot. “
Choimorrow sees more political leaders latching onto Trump’s ideology and anti-China sentiment that persist with the intense focus on the origins of Covid-19 and the Wuhan lab.
Not until August, a GOP-led investigation claims The virus was leaked and covered up by the Wuhan Institute of Virology – a conclusion US intelligence agencies failed to reach. A July report from the Pew Research Center noted that Congressmen, especially Republicans, are increasingly discussing China on social media, with the right using critical language in the context of the pandemic. The legislature sets out in competition with China’s technology and science profits made the country an “existential threat” to America and often did not distinguish between government and people.
In all of this, the organizers are closely monitoring the GOP’s public relations efforts and the candidates they nominate as they seek to win back AAPI adults.
“We have to demonstrate enough power … so that the people who are running for office don’t ignore us and get elected anyway. This is our big order for next year, ”said Choimorrow. “By 2050, Asian Americans will be the largest minority group.”