Former president Donald Trump is being sued by a civil rights organization for repeatedly referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus.” The lawsuit claims his words led to injury to the Asian American community.
The Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition is seeking $22.9 million from Trump – a dollar for every Asian American and Pacific Islander in the US. It argues that Trump’s “extreme and outrageous conduct” caused Chinese Americans “to suffer emotional distress.”
Noting that “words have consequences,” especially “from those in powerful and influential positions,” the lawsuit alleges that the ex-president “intentionally repeated those defamatory words to serve his own personal and political interests, with an astonishing level of actual malice and negligence.”
The suit also alleges that Trump has “irresponsibly ignored the growing evidence that racial insults and attacks on the Chinese/Asian American community have increased since the outbreak of the pandemic,” and links the rise in attacks with his “inflammatory phrases.”
The former president “neglected his official duty to represent all Americans,” it states.
During his presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus,” the “China virus,” the “Chinese flu,” and “Kung flu,” among other nicknames, referring to the virus’ origin.
However, in a statement to the Hill news platform, Trump adviser Jason Miller called the lawsuit “insane and idiotic” and “a complete joke,” and claimed the suit would be quickly “dismissed” in a court of law.
President Joe Biden has responded to the rise in assaults by forming a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to “address anti-Asian violence” and “advance safety, inclusion, and belonging” for the Asian American community.
On Thursday, Biden also signed into law the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which focuses solely on hate crimes connected to the pandemic.
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