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Rep. Lieu Calls out Trump's Anti-Asian Rhetoric after Shooter Kills Six Asian Women in Atlanta

Rep. Lieu Calls out Trump's Anti-Asian Rhetoric after Shooter Kills Six Asian Women in Atlanta
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images // MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The nation was horrified on Wednesday night after a 21 year old white gunman targeted Asian owned and operated spas in Atlanta, Georgia. Among the eight murdered were six Asian employees in what's the latest crescendo of a constant rise in hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans since the pandemic upended daily life in the United States.

Atlanta law enforcement says the killer blamed his atrocities on a sex addiction that he associated with these businesses, but that's met significant backlash from those calling on officials to recognize the worsening racism and violence toward Asian Americans in the past year.

A lot of that increasing hate can be laid at the feet of former President Donald Trump and his allies.

For months, Trump insisted on wholly blaming China for the virus in order to distract from his own failures. He repeatedly referred to it as the "China Virus," even after acknowledging the stratospheric rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans with his embrace of that rhetoric.

On March 17 of last year, White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, a Chinese-American, said that a White House official referred to the virus as "Kung-Flu" in her presence.

Immediately, White House officials promoted skepticism of Jiang's claim, with then-presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway calling the term "highly offensive" and berated Jiang for not revealing her source.

Only three months later, then-President Trump used the phrase himself at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma and again later that week at a youth rally in Arizona. White House officials, including Conway, rallied to defend him.

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) called Trump out for this in a recent tweet connecting the Trump administration's frequent racist rhetoric to the murders.

As recently as last week, the former President—in a statement crediting himself with President Joe Biden's vaccine rollout—as the "China Virus."

Lieu's rebuke of Trump's rhetoric and the violence it's helped provoke generated a wealth of reactions.