CBS This Morning on Thursday found a culprit for rising incidents of anti-Asian hate in America: Donald Trump. Connecting an unhinged rant by a tech CEO in California against a family, as well as violence across the country, reporter Elaine Quijano suggested that Trump highlighting the coronavirus’s origin may have something to do with spreading bigotry.
After showing video of the Orosa family in California being screamed at in a restaurant, Quijano explained, “According to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, there have been more than 2,100 reported hate incidents against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic. More than 800 of those were reported in California.”
She then played a clips of Trump saying, “It comes from China. That's why. Kung flu. This terrible China virus.”
The journalist talked to Cynthia Choi, the co-executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. She blamed, “I mean, look at these first ten accounts of anti-Asian hate, Trump’s name is evoked.”
Indeed, tech CEO Michael Lofthouse did invoke Trump during his hateful rant. But that makes the President responsible? He’s repeatedly said and tweeted things like this:
Yet, somehow, according to CBS, he must be responsible for inspiring things like “a stabbing at a Sam's Club in Midland, Texas.”
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A transcript of the segment is below. Click "expand" to read more.
CBS This Morning
7:41 AM ET
VLAD DUTHIERS: There's been a rise of hate crimes and racist attacks against Asian Americans since the corona pandemic began. Cell phone video captured one of the most recent incidents. A man yelled racial slurs at a California family while they were at a birthday dinner. He later apologized. Elaine Quijano of our streaming network CBS N spoke with the family that was targeted. Elaine, what did they say?
ELAINE QUIJANO: Well, Vlad, the Orosa family is shaken by what happened. It almost didn't get recorded because of the family's no-phone rule for their celebration dinner. But when a man began harassing them, one of the relatives pulled out their phone and started recording. Raymond Orosa and his wife Marie were celebrating Marie's birthday and the Fourth of July at a restaurant in California when Orosa said his family became a target.
[Footage of man yelling at family.]
QUIJANO: Cell phone video shows tech CEO Michael Lofthouse yelling racial slurs
MICHAEL LOFTHOUSE: Fucking Asian pieces of [bleeped].
QUIJANO: Oroso and his wife were born in the Philippines. He said they have been U.S. Citizens for roughly two decades. How did you feel when he said those things to you?
RAYMOND OROSA: I never felt anything like it. But that — that sort of for the first time was pretty strong. I didn't know what to do.
QUIJANO: Other recent harassment or hate crimes against Asian Americans include a stabbing at a Sam's Club in Midland, Texas, and an attack on a New York City subway. The FBI predicted the upswing in March, warning law enforcement that harassment of Asian Americans may increase amid the coronavirus. More than three months later, the numbers are surfacing. According to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, there have been more than 2,100 reported hate incidents against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic. More than 800 of those were reported in California.
CYNTHIA CHOI: About 70 percent is what we would constitute verbal harassment.
QUIJANO: Cynthia Choi is co-executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. She says hundreds of hate crimes are topically reported every year. Not thousands.
DONALD TRUMP: It comes from China. That's why. Kung flu. This terrible China virus.
QUIJANO: Choi believes there's a connection between rhetoric from the presidential podium to real-world expressions of bias.
CHOI: I mean, look at these first ten accounts of anti-Asian hate, Trump’s name is evoked.
QUIJANO: Just like it was last weekend in California. In a statement to several media outlets, Lofthouse apologized saying, "My behavior in the video is appalling. This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments." Do you accept his apology?
OROSA: Yes, I do forgive. I've done wrong things, too. And I've been forgiven. And — but in no way am I agreeing to what he's done. No. I don't accept the apology.
QUIJANO: In a statement to CBS News, the White House says the President has noted on numerous occasions the need to protect the Asian American community but added he will, quote, “Continue to point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China.” Raymond Orosa told us he has not spoken to Michael Lofthouse directly. When I asked what he would say to the CEO if he had a chance to speak to him, Orosa said he just wants to ask him why. Tony?
TONY DOKOUPIL: Yeah, I think why is the question we're all asking. The FBI anticipated this increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans. We should reflect today on why it’s happening. I think we no the answer.