A Korean American congressional candidate in Texas is facing a backlash for making anti-Chinese immigrant remarks in a forum last week.
Sery Kim, who is Republican, was responding to a question about the U.S. immigration crisis when she said of potential Chinese immigrants, “I don’t want them here at all.”
“They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable,” the candidate said at the forum, which was organized by two GOP groups in Texas’ 6th Congressional District.
She added, “And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean.”Kim’s comments immediately drew backlash in her own party. In a joint statement Friday, California Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel — who are also Korean American — revoked their endorsement of the candidate and called her remarks “unacceptable.”
“As the first Korean American Republican women to serve in Congress, we want to empower and lift up fellow members of the (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community who want to serve their communities,” they said. “We talked with Sery Kim yesterday about her hurtful and untrue comments about Chinese immigrants, and made clear that her comments were unacceptable.”
As anti-Asian incidents increase across the country, both officials said that they urged Kim to “apologize and clarify her remarks” – but the candidate is standing her ground.
“She has not publicly shown remorse, and her words were contrary to what we stand for,” they said. “We cannot in good conscience continue to support her candidacy. We will continue to speak out in support of our AAPI community.”
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Kim’s remarks echo the rhetoric of former President Donald Trump, whom she had served for as assistant administrator for the Small Business Administration, according to CNN
The congressional candidate is vying to replace the seat of former Rep. Ron Wright, who died in February after a COVID-19 diagnosis.
On Friday, Kim released a statement clarifying her comments, saying that they were directed to the Chinese government and not Asian Americans.
“I am shocked that in an effort to counter Asian-American hate the liberal media is targeting me, an Asian and an immigrant, in an effort to paint me as anti-Asian and anti-immigrant just for speaking against the oppressive Chinese Communist Party,” she said.
At least one Democratic contender has also criticized Kim’s comments, according to the Texas Tribune
. In a tweet Thursday, Lydia Bean noted that such remarks target people like her Chinese American husband and their 10-month-old son.
“This type of speech, no matter who it comes from puts their lives in danger,”
. “It’s racist, and it’s not who we are in Texas.”
a $10 million lawsuit against the Texas Tribune for defamation Monday.
Aside from her anti-Chinese stance, the congressional candidate also ignited controversy for saying that anti-Asian violence has not worsened since last year.
“The biggest difference right now is people are filming it — and the media choosing to report it,”
she told the Dallas Morning News
. “Asians have always faced violence. It’s not worse than before.”