Conservative ads filled with imagery of violence against Asian Americans pinpoint the cause of anti-Asian hate as “Joe Biden and his liberal allies.”
On Saturday, nonprofit Citizens for Sanity released an advertisement on Twitter titled, “Why Don’t Asian Lives Matter to Joe Biden and his liberal allies?” Featuring news coverage and clips of 17 prominent attacks on Asian Americans, the ad blames the Biden administration for the rise in anti-Asian violence.
WATCH: Why Don’t Asian Lives Matter to Joe Biden and his liberal allies? pic.twitter.com/C0Nu9LyfeK
— Citizens for Sanity (@citizens_sanity) October 22, 2022
With the phrase “Asian Lives Matter,” the ad subverts the Black Lives Matter movement slogan, presumably to gain viewers’ attention and nudge Asian voters concerned with crime and racism into voting Republican. The video’s narration implies that Democrats and liberal policies are responsible for “[allowing] deranged criminals to roam free, putting Asians in grave danger.”
However, as The Intercept notes, the dates for the featured attacks fail to appear in the ad. Although the majority of these crimes were committed during or shortly after Trump’s presidency, the imagery of Biden and the video’s narration steers its viewers to believe otherwise.
For example, the ad uses surveillance video of an assault on 84-year-old Rong Xin Liao in San Francisco, which took place on Feb. 20, 2020, during Trump’s presidency. The perpetrator, Eric Ramos Hernandez, was arrested and charged in connection with the incident.
In addition, the ad’s claim that the perpetrators of these crimes were not punished for them is false, as news reports readily reveal that the attackers featured were arrested and charged, many with hate crimes.
Trump’s COVID-19 rhetoric during the pandemic, which included “China virus” and “kung flu,” among other inflammatory terms, is believed to have fueled much of the anti-Asian crimes and incidents in recent years.
Biden, along with other lawmakers, has moved to address anti-Asian crimes in recent years, as well as Asian inclusion, discrimination and representation. Biden also signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes act on May 20, 2021, to combat racist attacks.
In response to the ad, commenters took to Twitter to express their opinions and highlight the misinformation present in the ad.
Anti-Asian hate crimes began to rise dramatically under the presidency of Donald Trump:
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that anti-Asian hate crimes spiked 149 percent across 16 of America’s largest cities between 2019 and 2020
— Dogs Like Me (@Clawson67490219) October 22, 2022
This is ridiculous! Asian hate crimes took an uptick because Trump said that Covid was China’s fault. I cannot understand why you are pushing this lie.
— Tee Nee Bee (@TNBrunson) October 22, 2022
Others sided with Citizens for Sanity and agreed with the statements made by the ad.
Aww this hurts. This country is breaking my heart. 💔 😢. Let’s fix this! We must.
— jamie setter (@JamieSetter) October 22, 2022
This will never be fixed Asians will have to fight back unfortunately this president doesn’t care or will do anything about this.
— Open Eyes 323 (@323Eyes) October 23, 2022
This anti-Asian hate ad is one of many that was launched by Citizens for Sanity. Known as a “dark money group” and popular for bankrolling provocative ads, Citizens for Sanity is the “8th highest spending group nationwide since October 1” at a total of $33 million, according to AdImpact Politics. The Republican group was responsible for the recent anti-immigration ads aired during the MLB Playoffs, which many accused of being racist.
This incredibly racist ad just ran during the baseball game nationally on FS1. Tell me, who was president in February 2020? pic.twitter.com/GF03qSEs47
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 14, 2022
According to the Citizens for Sanity website, their mission is to “return common sense to America, to highlight the importance of logic and reason, and to defeat ‘wokeism’ and anti-critical thinking ideologies.” The group’s board of directors, as revealed by Open Secrets, contains three former officials from Trump’s administration.
The same individuals are heavily involved in America First Legal Foundation, a nonprofit organization against “lawless executive actions and the Radical Left” led by Stephen Miller, an anti-immigration political advisor during Trump’s presidency.
Citizens for Sanity’s ads are scheduled to air before the midterm elections, targeting the AAPI community for votes that may determine close races.
A recent report by Stop AAPI Hate revealed that political rhetoric has increased anti-Asian hate ahead of the midterm elections, ultimately hurting AAPI communities in the United States.
Featured Image via @citizens_sanity