News & Politics

SPLC Blames Trump's 'Racist, Anti-Asian Epithets' for Coronavirus-Related Anti-Asian Harassment

President Donald Trump speaks in the Brady press briefing room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March, 9, 2020, about the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

While President Donald Trump has been fighting the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, the American left has been hard at work condemning him for his word choice. Lefty media outlets have rushed to repeat talking points put out by the Chinese Communist Party condemning the “racism” of calling the coronavirus “Chinese.” The Chinese Communist Party has sought to blame America for the disease, falsely claiming it originated in the U.S.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — a far-left smear factory that seems obsessed with blaming Trump for the “hate” it exaggerates in order to scare donors into ponying up cash — claimed that the president is responsible for “an increase in hate and harassment” directed at Asian Americans.

“Since the president’s use of racist, anti-Asian epithets to describe [COVID-19], [Asian Americans] have experienced an increase in hate and harassment,” the SPLC tweeted. “If you’ve experienced anti-Asian racism or hate because of the pandemic, share your story with [Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)].”

The SPLC has leveraged its civil rights history and its record of suing Ku Klux Klan groups into bankruptcy to smear its political opponents as “hate groups,” putting them on a list with KKK groups in an effort to cut them off from polite society.

In recent years, it has directed its accusations at Trump, blaming him for supposedly inciting racism and “hate.” In October 2018, it blamed Trump for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, even though the shooter hated Trump and the president has consistently supported Israel and the Jews — even going so far as to welcome his daughter’s conversion to Judaism and to sign an executive order combatting anti-Semitism on college campuses. Last week, the SPLC mentioned Trump no fewer than 66 times in its report on “hate groups,” using Trump’s association with mainstream conservative and Christian groups to suggest he is a vile human being.

This accusation that the president is inspiring “hate and harassment” against Asian Americans is just as baseless as the others.

Trump has taken to calling the coronavirus “the Chinese virus” in order to combat the Chinese Communist Party propaganda falsely blaming the U.S. for the virus. The Chinese Communist Party has protected its false narrative by accusing the president of racism — an accusation lefty journalists seem only too happy to repeat.

Asian Americans have reported an increase in harassment related to the coronavirus, and many of their stories are harrowing. While the AAJC website the SPLC linked to only has four discrete self-reported incidents of harassment, The New York Times reported that NextShark, a website focused on Asian American news, is receiving dozens of tips a day, when it used to receive far fewer.

Any incident of harassment against Asian Americans is disgusting, and the coronavirus is no excuse to attack people on the basis of race. Sad as these incidents are, there is no clear link between them and the president’s decision to counter Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Trump has never directly encouraged such racist harassment. He should explicitly condemn it

It is not racist or inflammatory to say the disease comes from China — it is fact. In fact, even left-leaning media figures referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan coronavirus” or the “Chinese coronavirus” before liberals and the Chinese Communist Party decided this term is racist.

If Trump is responsible for these self-reported incidents of harassment, then so are the reporters who shared the truth about the virus’s origins.

The SPLC is seizing on the coronavirus as an opportunity to demonize the president and pit Americans against one another in the name of fighting hate. While this is the SPLC’s M.O., it is particularly disgusting that the far-left group would make hay out of this virus.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.