U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who has been representing Texas since 2002, attributed the spread of COVID-19 to Chinese culture, which, according to him, has people eating bats and other animals that supposedly transfer viruses.
“I think China is to blame,” Cornyn told The Hill in a statement on Wednesday, “because [it’s] the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that. These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the swine flu and now the coronavirus.”
For this reason, the 68-year-old argued that China has “a fundamental problem,” adding that he does not object to “geographically identifying where it’s coming from.”
Sen. John Cornyn: “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.” pic.twitter.com/N4TIlGFqAL
Cornyn’s statement came just after Trump defended his use of the term “Chinese virus,” despite the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explicitly stating that it is inappropriate. The president also refuses to believe that Asian Americans will be affected by its use, since the novel coronavirus has a specific origin.
“No, not at all,” said Trump, according to Politico. “I think they’d [Asian Americans] probably would agree with it 100%. It comes from China. There’s nothing not to agree on.”
Cornyn shared Trump’s sentiments.
“I disagree,” he said of the term being racist. “We’re not talking about Asians. We’re talking about China where these viruses emanate from and which has created this pandemic.”
While severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — the pathogen responsible for COVID-19 — originated from China, Cornyn was incorrect about the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the swine flu.
Cornyn’s statement immediately sparked vitriol on social media, with people slamming him as downright “racist” and “xenophobic.”
“John Cornyn’s comments are disgusting, dangerous, and racist. Asian Americans have already been the victims of hate crimes because of Trump and the Republican Party’s racism. We will vote Cornyn out in November,” the Texas Democratic Party, for one, wrote in a tweet.
John Cornyn’s comments are disgusting, dangerous, and racist. Asian Americans have already been the victims of hate crimes because of Trump and the Republican Party’s racism. We will vote Cornyn out in November.
oh my fcking god. AMERICANS EAT HORSE AND GATOR. FRENCH EAT FROGS.
Stop BLAMING THIS ON THE CHINESE TO DEFLECT ACCOUNTABILITY FOR YOUR OWN LACK OF LEADERSHIP AND OBVIOUS INCOMPETENCE AT LEADING US THROUGH A GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS YOU SIMPERING COWARDLY ASSKNUCKLES https://t.co/DQyQoUBaao
My wife is from Taiwan, so my kids are half-Chinese. Because of racist assholes like @JohnCornyn & @realDonaldTrump, their classmates are already blaming them for the virus & asking if they eat bats. My 9 year old son even came home & asked me if it was true. It’s heart-breaking.
Hey @JohnCornyn “This is Chinese culture and every disease comes from there.” is factually false and worse is a clear rallying call for idiots to go after people who look Asian. There are Asian kids out here just trying to live you reckless moron. https://t.co/0PBGC9XKLJ
This is funny because Cornyn’s home state of Texas is one of the few US places known for snake-eating and has the largest annual rattlesnake roundup in the world. The icing on top is that Cornyn’s own Senate website contains an article about this. pic.twitter.com/w5aMWaa5sG