Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on Incidents of Racism Against Asian Americans and Pacific IslandersApril 12, 2020
By Joe Biden
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve heard increasing reports of Asian Americans in communities across our country being targeted with messages of hate. There are stories of Asian Americans being spit on while walking down the street, enduring verbal and physical assaults, finding their cars vandalized with racist messages — even a suspected acid attack and stabbings. The FBI has warned about the likelihood of an increase in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. And, some people of AAPI descent have even spoken about their concerns following CDC guidance to wear a mask in public, for fear it will mark them out for unwanted attention.
These disgusting and racist acts must stop. They are grounded in an impulse that is as ugly, as it is dangerously ignorant. And, it’s not who we are as a country. No one should be targeted for what they look like, where their ancestors come from, or who they are. Period.
COVID-19 is a danger to everyone, and we will stop it by coming together, not by targeting people of AAPI heritage. AAPI members of our community are a vital and valued part of the American story. I’ve said from the moment I launched my campaign that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation, and we need our leaders to set the example we all must follow as a nation.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump and his Administration have failed to show almost any moral leadership when it comes to this issue. Indeed, Trump’s attempts to deflect responsibility away from his own failures in addressing this pandemic by calling the coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” during the White House press briefings stoked feelings of hatred and anger toward AAPIs.
The casual racism and regular xenophobia that we have seen from Trump and this Administration is a national scourge. Donald Trump only knows how to speak to people’s fears, not their better angels. He only ever seeks to place blame, instead of claiming responsibility. In this moment of national and global crisis, it’s clear that we need a president who demonstrates the leadership to address every aspect of this pandemic — including the spate of racist incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — with urgency and seriousness. Donald Trump is not that president.