Concerns about anti-Asian bias have spiked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including claims by some critics that former President Donald Trump’s reference to phrases like “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese virus” hinged on racism.
The debate led to a proposal by Democrats of the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,” a bill that drew swift backlash from the right for representing an overreaction and was subsequently dropped by its sponsors on Capitol Hill.
“He has pulled this”
According to the Daily Caller, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) quietly gave up on the sweeping legislative plan this week.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) announced on Tuesday that Nadler tabled the bill during a committee meeting.
Although no official reason for the decision was announced, Massie believes some Democrats came to understand how over-the-top its provisions truly were.
“Judiciary Committee just gaveled in,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted. “Chairman Nadler announced he has pulled this and the other hate crime bill from consideration today. Perhaps some of the Democrats realized how ridiculous this bill is.”
In a series of subsequent tweets, Massie pointed out the perceived flaws within the bill, rhetorically asking why certain geographically based descriptors were perfectly acceptable while others were deemed racist or xenophobic.
“Culturally competent and linguistically appropriate”
“The end of page 3 is to codify the political correctness that has run amuck in this country,” he wrote alongside an image of the proposal. “Why can you say ‘UK strain’ and ‘South African strain,’ yet ‘Wuhan virus’ is forbidden?”
Massie went on to call the bill “insanity,” noting that it also included harsh language regarding Americans who choose not to wear a facemask in public spaces.
The bill demanded that “culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns” be expanded along with a form of online reporting created with the apparent goal of housing complaints against those who use unapproved terms to describe the virus and related topics.
Also included in the bill was a mandate for federal officials like the secretary of Health and Human Services and the U.S. attorney general to “issue guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed the administration’s aggressive stance against Trump’s use of such terms, declaring: “I think there’s no question that some of the damaging that we saw during the prior administration blaming — calling COVID the Wuhan virus or other things — led to perceptions of the Asian-American community that are inaccurate, unfair, have raised threatening — have elevated threats against Asian-Americans.”