Biden, Harris decry racism and violence against minorities at AAPI event
President Biden and Vice President Harris on Tuesday condemned violence and hateful rhetoric toward minority communities at a White House celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Both Biden and Harris spoke out against rising hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and connected the issue more broadly to a shooting over the weekend in Buffalo, N.Y., where authorities said the gunman specifically targeted the neighborhood because of its high density of Black residents.
“We must always speak out against violence, against hate crimes and against discrimination whenever and wherever it occurs. And we must do everything in our power to end this epidemic of hate,” Harris, who is the first Asian American to serve as vice president, said in remarks at the Rose Garden.
Both Harris and Biden appeared to indirectly call out Republican leaders and conservative pundits in their remarks, arguing that they have fueled racism in the country.
“Hate can have no safe harbor in America. And every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden said. “But you know, you have folks on television stations talking about the replacement theory, scaring the living hell out of people who don’t have a whole lot of emotional stability.”
Biden’s comments were seemingly a swipe at Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has come under criticism especially in the wake of the Buffalo shooting for pushing baseless claims that Democrats are bringing immigrants into the country for the purpose of creating more Democratic voters.
Democrats have hammered conservatives following the Buffalo shooting over their propagation of the racist replacement theory. Earlier on Tuesday, Biden traveled to Buffalo, where he strongly condemned white supremacy.
But the trend of violence and racism against Asian Americans has been particularly pronounced dating back to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hate crimes against that group surged beginning in 2020, and civil rights groups condemned the use of the “Wuhan virus” and other terms by then-President Trump.
Last year, Biden and Harris traveled to Georgia after eight people were killed by a gunman, six of whom were Asian American women. And over the weekend, multiple people were shot at a church in California by a gunman who authorities said was motivated by political hatred against Taiwan.
In her remarks, Harris said leaders must use the occasion of the heritage month for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to remember they are stronger together.
“We also know in tragic moments like this, that we are committed collectively to saying a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us, and it is a harm against our nation,” Harris said.
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