WASHINGTON – Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, on March 10 issued the following statement criticizing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) for referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese coronavirus” on his Twitter page (@GOPLeader).

Rep. Grace Meng

“I am shocked and dismayed that the GOP leader in the House of Representatives has referred to the coronavirus as the ‘Chinese coronavirus.’ This labeling of the illness is embarrassing, disrespectful, offensive, and downright disgusting. It is shameful,” Meng said.

“Since the first cases of the novel coronavirus – otherwise known as COVID-19 – were reported in the U.S., I warned the public about not singling out the Asian American community. As vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I also joined my CAPAC colleagues in calling on all members of Congress to do the same. But unfortunately, these pleas have not stopped acts of discrimination from taking place across the country, and to now see such blatant disregard from the House minority leader is truly stunning.

“Let’s be absolutely clear: this virus is neither the ‘Chinese coronavirus’ nor the ‘Wuhan virus,’ as yet another Republican member called it; it is the coronavirus – or COVID-19, plain and simple. Wrongly inserting ‘Chinese’ into the name of this disease only reinforces the disparaging and negative stereotypes of Asian Americans.

“This also likens various media outlets simply putting up entirely unrelated stock photos of Asian Americans wearing masks in their reporting of coronavirus cases. We need greater accountability and deference to truth from all – especially in times of uncertainty or anxiety.

“The minority leader must immediately apologize for and stop this dangerous, irresponsible, and insulting manner in which he referred to the coronavirus, and join me in urging all our colleagues to stop these harmful references. Scapegoating and political expediency are never the answer – especially at the expense of respect and responsibility.”

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