For example, in one since-deleted tweet to her 394,000 followers, pro-Trump former congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine said that “China must pay for giving Trump COVID,” and swore that “we will have justice.”
Another Twitter user with 114,000 followers blamed Chinese President Xi Jinping for trying to assassinate Trump.
The anti-China rhetoric used by the Trump administration and its supporters throughout the pandemic has left Asian Americans vulnerable to racist attacks, researchers have previously found. Fear, hatred and misinformation online has led to verbal assaults, boycotts of Asian businesses and sometimes violence. A coalition of Asian American groups, along with San Francisco State University, reported this summer that 2,120 hate incidents against Asian Americans have taken place since March.
President Trump has been at the forefront of pushing a narrative that responsibility for the virus lies with China. In the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, Trump said the covid-19 crisis was “China’s fault,” and referred to the virus as the “China plague.”
“From the birther scandal to lies about immigrants to his attempt to blame China for his own failure to contain the coronavirus, Donald Trump has built his presidency on perpetuating conspiracy theories and racism,” said Rep. Judy Chu, (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, in a statement.