On Monday evening, MSNBC’s fearmongering and race-baiting host Joy Reid conducted a lengthy and very awkward interview at the end of her show. The Reid Out host invited two Asian guests on to discuss how Donald Trump is single-handedly responsible for the purported proliferation of racist attacks against Asian Americans in the past year.
If you’re a race-obsessed journalist like Reid who insists upon viewing and judging others solely on the color of their skin, then the logic is simple: Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “China Virus,” some Asian Americans alleged they’ve been discriminated against or attacked; therefore, Trump unequivocally instigated the alleged violence and discrimination.
If you’re a normal person, then you likely understand that correlation is not necessarily indicative of causation, and you understand that there’s nothing inherently racist about naming, or referring to, a virus based on where it originated from. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the novel coronavirus did, in fact, originate in China. The CDC concludes that “COVID-19 began spreading in Wuhan, China,” and “became an epidemic.”
Instead of providing her viewers with facts, Reid, of course, resorted to humorless ad hominem attacks on the previous administration, referring to Trump as “our racist-in-chief” and blaming him, personally, for the nearly half million deaths in the United States:
“And under the disgraced, now twice-impeached former president, that anger was fostered, fueled, and misdirected. Trump refused to wear a mask and flaunted it. He resisted locking down the country—the way lots of country leaders did, successfully. And then, our racist-in-chief sought to redirect the anger that people were experiencing because of his own weak response to the pandemic on to someone else.”
Reid also failed to mention that diseases and viruses have often been referred to by their place of origin: Some examples include: West Nile Virus, Spanish Flu, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Got that? It’s only racist when Trump does it.
When Trump announced that he was going to implement a travel restrictions from China, media outlets decried this proclamation as racist and xenophobic. When the Biden administration announced that it was going to be implementing similar travel restrictions—in addition to additional restrictions from new geographic regions in which variations of the virus have been identified. Specifically, variants of the virus have been found in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Whether the attacks have increased, decreased, or remained constant, it is absurd to think that President Trump referring to the virus by its location of origin is responsible.
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Click “Expand” to read the entire February 8 transcript:
MSNBC The ReidOut
JOY REID: Up next, we’ve seen an alarming increase in violence directed at Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic. You don’t suppose the former president repeatedly calling it, quote, the China virus had anything to do with that, do you? We’ll be back, after this.
REID: Lots of Americans are just angry. They’re angry about having to wear a mask.
[CUTS TO CLIP OF MASKLESS MAN IN DEPARTMENT STORE]
REID: They’re angry at being told they have to socially distance and they shouldn’t be out partying in the club or that they have to close their bars or restaurants or gyms or change the way they do business. And under the disgraced, now twice-impeached former president, that anger was fostered, fueled, and misdirected. Trump refused to wear a mask and flaunted it. He resisted locking down the country—the way lots of country leaders did, successfully. And then, our racist-in-chief sought to redirect the anger that people were experiencing because of his own weak response to the pandemic on to someone else.
[CUTS TO CLIP OF WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING]
REPORTER: Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus? There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country. A lot of people say it’s racist.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because it comes from China. 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.
REID: That language was quickly interpreted and translated into violence on Asian Americans. That means communities that were already struggling have paid a huge and often overlooked price for that misdirected anger. And that’s next.
REID: Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen reports of racist attacks targeting members of the Asian-American community. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the website Stop AAPI Hate, which have been tracking the incidents since March, when the country went into lockdown, report thousands of cases of violent or verbal attacks. Some community organizers worry that the numbers do not accurately reflect the current situation, because many are afraid to report to authorities. Anti-Asian racism is not new in this country. In the 19th century, similar xenophobic sentiments led to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act—barring immigration based solely on race. In the first days of the presidency, Joe Biden issued a memorandum publicly condemning this racism, xenophobia, and intolerance. And joining me now is Congressman Andy Kim of New Jersey and Connie Wun Woo co-founder of AAPI Women’s Lead. Thank you both for being here. And, I’ll go to you first, I guess, Congressman, how much can we connect the rash of violence against Asian Americans to the previous president’s rhetoric about the coronavirus?
ANDY KIM: Yeah, there’s no doubt that there’s a connection there, and that needs to be something that is brought out, and something that helps us to understand, as a community, how to be able to move forward from here. Many Asian Americans across this country, myself included, have experienced firsthand that type of discrimination and hatred over the last year and it is something we see manifested in the horrible videos—that are just so hard to watch—of elderly Asian-Americans being pushed, killed, attacked over the last few days, weeks. These are the types of things we need to make sure we come together to condemn.
REID: You know, and Connie Wun, thank you very much. I think the one that I saw, that was actually raising up these specific cases, was an elderly man in San Francisco who was killed in an attack. His family saying it was a racist attack. The daughter of the man told a local news station her father was targeted because he was an elderly Asian man, she added that she’s received racist harassment and verbal abuse since the beginning of the pandemic. In your view, is this tied mainly to that and to this discrimination against Asian Americans thinking, oh, you know, this is where I can direct my anger about COVID, or is there something deeper—more to it—that we need to look into?
CONNIE WUN [AAPI WOMEN LEAD CO-FOUNDER]: So, um, thanks for having us on the show. I do wanna say a couple of things; I think, it’s, the racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans and Asians has long existed before the Trump administration, so I think we need to historicize that and remember that as a part of the United States’ kind of long history with white supremacy. Now, with the Trump administration, that was exacerbated. Because of things, like, you noted the China –Chinese flu or the China virus, right? That exacerbated the already underlying xenophobia and racism against Asians, and then what we have right now is a condition by which our communities have historically, and continue to be invisibilized. The stories about us being, you know, there’s – 12% of our Asian Americans and Asians live under poverty. Up to 40% of our Hmong community live under poverty. Those stories are invisible, they’re neglected, and they’re unknown. The fact that so many of our communities, Asian Americans, Asians are facing immigration deportation, racial profiling. Uh, in December of – December 30, 2020, one of our Chinese Americans, 19-year-old, boys and sons was killed by the police by Pennsylvania State Troopers. Those stories are invisible and because of that, we end up becoming even more vulnerable to the violence and the rage that you’re talking about, Joy. People are kind of narrowing in their rage on to our communities, which they don’t understand are also historically and have been and continue to suffer under racism and white supremacy and xenophobia and poverty.
REID: And can I stay with you just for a moment because there is – right, well there is this like sort of almost sort of exoticizing the Asian-American community because there are stuff like “Bling Empire,” or, you know, “Crazy Rich Asians,” that represent the Asian-American community and they thought that this is an elite community, a wealthy community, a well-educated community, and this idea that people aren’t hurting. You’re giving a different narrative: people are actually hurting, that is not real. What’s real is that people are actually hurting and that racialized and racism against Asian Americans is happening and no one is paying attention.
WUN: Perfect. That’s exactly the case. Every day I’m in Chinatown, where my family is from in Oakland, we walk around seeing Chinese grandmothers and grandfathers, aunties and uncles selling canned food for a dollar, like for two cans. Right? So they’re suffering while the media is presenting us as if we are crazy rich Asians, that we are a part of the Bling empire, that we are, you know, part of these well-off communities, when that is not the case. A number of Southeast Asian community members continue to be racially profiled, live under poverty. And my family, growing up in Oakland, and the Bay Area, we didn’t have those kind of, you know, resources that are being portrayed on the media, and so when people come into our neighborhoods assuming that we have that, that makes us extremely vulnerable to violence and misconceptions and stereotypes about us.
REID: That’s a very good point. And so, Congressman Kim, what should we be doing here? Is the Biden administration’s sort of edict that they’re going to address this racism, you know, so much racism they have to try to deal with—is there a legislative solution? Is the solution cultural? What should we be doing here?
KIM: Well, look. I mean, it’s not a problem that you can legislate away. There’s no way you could write some perfect bill or law that’s going to change this. It starts by what you’re doing right now, so thank you. You’re raising the visibility of this. As mentioned by your other guest, here, just raising that visibility, having that image, that video of that elderly man pushed and shoved—have that seared into us. Recognize that that could be our grandfather, our father, our loved one. Recognize that that doesn’t—this is not just for the Asian-American community. It’s a problem for all of us. So have that visibility, but build a coalition to sustain that and recognize that this is all of our problems.
REID: Yeah, indeed. We have to share across these communities and all work together because we are all in this together. Congressman Andy Kim and Connie Wun, thank you both very much for bringing this issue forward.