Former President Donald Trump has been sued for calling Covid-19 the ‘China virus’, by a civil rights group that claims he inflicted harm on Asian-Americans.
In its federal complaint, the Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition (CACRC) alleges that Trump repeatedly referring to the coronavirus as ‘Chinese virus’, ‘Wuhan virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’ while president caused an increase in crimes against Chinese-Americans and Asian-Americans.
The suit, first obtained by TMZ, claims that the origins of Covid-19 are still not clear and that Trump knew that while making the derogatory remarks. It states that ‘words have consequences… especially from those in powerful and influential positions’.
Trump ‘intentionally repeated those defamatory words to serve his own personal and political interest with astonishing level of actual malice and negligence, hence severely injuring the Chinese/Asian Americans communities in the process’, the complaint reads.
Trump’s senior adviser Jason Miller called the lawsuit ‘a complete joke’ and stated that the lawyer who brought it should ‘be worried about getting sanctioned’. ‘This is an insane and idiotic lawsuit that is specious at best, and it will be dismissed if it ever sees a courtroom,’ Miller said in a statement to The Hill on Friday.
In March 2020, as the virus became widespread in the US, a photo of Trump’s notes went viral showing ‘corona’ in the word coronavirus crossed out and ‘Chinese’ written in its place.
A University of California, San Francisco study published that month found that Trump’s ‘Chinese virus’ tweet spurred a spike in anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter. Trump has defended his phrases, saying, ‘It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate.’
Last May after clashing with an Asian-American reporter, Trump claimed that Asian-Americans and Chinese-Americans themselves were mad at China. ‘Asian Americans are VERY angry at what China has done to our Country, and the World,’ Trump tweeted. ‘Chinese Americans are the most angry of all. I don’t blame them!’