Cruz rebukes San Antonio City Council for denouncing 'Chinese virus' as hate speech

Cruz rebukes San Antonio City Council for denouncing 'Chinese virus' as hate speech
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Trump says he'll sign order with 'road to citizenship' for DACA recipients MORE (R-Texas) on Thursday lashed out at the San Antonio City Council for passing a resolution condemning racism and anti-Semitism because it determined phrases such as "Kung Fu virus" and "Chinese virus" in reference to COVID-19 to be hate speech.

“This is NUTS,” Cruz wrote on Twitter. “SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words ‘Wuhan virus.’”

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The Republican senator said the city council should investigate news outlets such as The New York Times and CNN that have "repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as 'the Chinese coronavirus,'" adding, "#NoSpeechPolice."

The city council on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution to denounce bigotry, anti-Semitism and “hateful speech” during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (I) put forth the measure, which states that hate crimes, discrimination and aggression against Asians and Jews are on the rise as the groups are blamed for the virus's spread. 

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The motion specifically states that terms such as “Chinese virus” and “Kung Fu virus” have been directed against Asians during hate crimes and have been used to spread misinformation.

The city council said it will support efforts to prosecute those committing hate acts related to COVID-19 in partnership with the Bexar County district attorney’s office and the San Antonio Police Department.

“We have a diverse mosaic of people here in San Antonio,” Nirenberg said at the meeting, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “We want them to know, we want all of us to know, that we stand side by side with everyone in this community and that we will call out racism and bigotry and hate speech when we see it, especially if it's taking advantage of a pandemic.”

COVID-19 first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December but has since infected nearly 4 million people in 187 countries and regions.

There were nearly 1,500 reports of coronavirus-related verbal or physical assaults against Asian Americans between March 19 and April 15, according to a database from a national campaign called "Racism Is Contagious."

Nearly half — 44 percent — of incidents have reportedly taken place at private businesses, while 69 percent were attacks against Asian American women.

Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) have warned against using phrases that could lead to racial profiling or place blame on a group of people.

“Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank,” said Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s Emergencies Programme. 

However, several other Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarHouse Republicans urge White House to support TSA giving travelers temperature checks OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower cites Trump tweets as impetus for California emissions probe | Democrats set July vote for major conservation bill, blaming Republicans for delay | Trump vows crackdown on monument vandalism Democrats set July vote for major conservation bill, blaming Republicans for delay MORE (Ariz.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention MORE (Calif.), have taken to referring to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese coronavirus.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE said in March that he doesn’t think the phrase creates a stigma.

“It’s not racist at all,” Trump said when asked about whether the phrase creates a dangerous stigma for Chinese Americans. "It comes from China. ... I want to be accurate."

Social media mentions promoting anti-Chinese rhetoric soared online in recent weeks since GOP lawmakers have started referring to the coronavirus as a “foreign” and Chinese disease, according to an analysis by a Washington think tank.