Most Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) blame former President Donald Trump for the discrimination the community faces amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new poll.
Poll findings: The new poll, conducted by Politico and intelligence firm Morning Consult, found that 71% of AAPI adults blame Trump for the ongoing wave of anti-Asian discrimination against the community. This is the highest percentage of blame directed at an individual, Politico noted.
- By ethnicity, Chinese respondents blamed Trump the most (66%), followed by Japanese (63%), Koreans (59%), Vietnamese (54%), Indians (52%) and Filipinos (49%). Pacific Islanders were the least likely to blame the former president (38%), though 55% still cited him as a major or minor reason for the discrimination.
- Conservative Chinese Americans welcomed Trump’s entry into politics, but they grew increasingly disappointed over his anti-China rhetoric. Cliff Li, who heads the National Committee of Asian American Republicans, officially endorsed Joe Biden a week before the November 2020 election. “Some conservatives feel like, ‘We’re part of the team, but why did you suddenly just turn against us?’” Li told Politico. “So, you know, feeling like they were being used.”
- The poll, which surveyed 2,000 AAPI adults in June, had other key findings. For one, it found that roughly two in 10 AAPIs were more likely to identify with the community than they did prior to COVID-19 — a promising sign for political mobilization, according to poll organizers.
Driving the news: From the onset of the pandemic through the remainder of his term, Trump routinely referred to COVID-19 as “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus” or “Kung Flu.” Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that his very first tweet using the term “Chinese virus” led to an increase in anti-Asian hashtags, which they believe to have a “plausible connection” with ensuing hate crimes.
- Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition tracking anti-Asian incidents, received 9,081 reports between March 19, 2020 and June 30, 2021. However, this figure may be far from the exact numbers as experts suspect massive underreporting.
- In May 2021, Trump was sued for defamation and infliction of emotional distress by the Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition (CACRC), which claimed that his use of sinophobic terms directly contributed to the surge of violence against Chinese and other Asian Americans. The group wants the former president to pay every Asian American $1, for an estimated total of $22.9 million, which would be used to build an AAPI-centric museum.