Biden press secretary attributes anti-Asian hate crime spike to ‘hateful rhetoric’ about COVID-19 origins

jen psaki
  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki blamed “hateful rhetoric” about COVID-19’s origins for the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
  • A reporter asked a question about President Joe Biden’s plans to address the three-fold hate crime increase under the current administration.
  • Psaki responded by saying Biden created a task force and hired a senior-level staffer to represent him for issues concerning the Asian American community.
  • “We've seen this rise unfortunately because of hate-filled rhetoric and language around the origins of the pandemic and that is something that Asian Americans across the country have been feeling,” Psaki said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attributed the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to “hateful rhetoric” about COVID-19’s origins. 

The assertion was made during the White House press briefing on Tuesday as part of Psaki’s response to a reporter’s question that referenced a “339%” hate crime increase under the current administration. 

The reporter posed a question about President Joe Biden’s plans to address the series of crimes targeting Asians based on fear expressed by Korean American Olympian Chloe Kim for her family’s safety. 

“…She was tormented online daily,” the reporter said. “She said she was consumed by the fear that her parents could be killed whenever she heard the news about another brutal assault on an Asian person.”

After citing the statistics on the rise of hate crimes, the reporter went on: “It seems we don’t see much action taken by the White House. And even in the press briefing, the very last time you mentioned about Asian Americans was last May. So, will the president take some action or even just record a video like what he did last year to raise the awareness?” 

Psaki answered that Biden created a task force and hired a senior-level staffer to represent him and address the concerns of the Asian American community.

In April, Biden appointed Erika L. Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) senior liaison. According to the White House’s press release, Moritsugu will be a “vital voice to advance the President and the Administration’s priorities.”

“We’ve seen this rise unfortunately because of hate-filled rhetoric and language around the origins of the pandemic and that is something that Asian Americans across the country have been feeling,” Psaki said, before reiterating Biden’s commitment to “continuing to speak out to crack down to take steps.”

While Biden has publicly condemned anti-Asian hate and announced several action plans to address the increase of anti-Asian violence, violent attacks have continued. 

Based on new research published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes targeting the Asian American community increased by 339% in 2021 compared to 2020, NextShark previously reported.

Last Sunday, a Korean American woman named Christina Yuna Lee, 35, was allegedly killed in a “sexually motivated” crime by a homeless man named Assamad Nash, 25, as NextShark previously reported.

In January, Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, died after being shoved by Martial Simon, 61, in front of a subway train in Times Square. 

Featured Image via Reuters

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