Donald Trump’s reelection campaign released an ad on April 9 that accused former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, of being too cozy with China. It featured an image of Biden and former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke on a stage flanked by the U.S. and People’s Republic of China flags. The ad seems to suggest that Locke is a Chinese government official.
Locke, an Asian American born in Seattle and who also served eight years as governor of Washington state, said that Trump and his team are “fanning hatred” at a time when hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans are on the rise. Locke said in a statement that the “Trump team is making it worse. Asian Americans are Americans. Period.”
Locke was an ambassador during the Obama administration and also served as U.S. commerce secretary. He served as governor of Washington from 1997 to 2005.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the ad on Twitter, saying it “specifically places Biden in Beijing.”
The spread of the coronavirus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, has spurred attacks on Asian Americans across the United States. The Trump administration, which has been accused of being too slow to react to the spread of COVID-19, has referred to the coronavirus both as the “Wuhan virus” and the “Chinese virus.”
Biden issued a statement on April 10 calling attacks against Asian Americans “disgusting and racist acts,” though he didn’t directly mention the Trump campaign ad.
“The casual racism and regular xenophobia that we have seen from Trump and this administration is a national scourge. Donald Trump only knows how to speak to people’s fears, not their better angels. He only ever seeks to place blame, instead of claiming responsibility,” Biden said.
Please join Biden and Locke in ending this hatred.
The top priority in the United States right now is to stop this virus and save lives. Division is not helping.
As Locke so eloquently put it, “We need leaders who understand we can only get through this crisis together — as Americans of every creed, color, and background.”