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Frank Sharry: “Xenophobia is a disease and Trump spreads it to divide Americans…Now it imperils lives.”

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The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Just hours after some in the mainstream media heralded his new tone at an afternoon press conference, President Trump tweeted about the ‘Chinese virus.’ Puleeze.

Before we ooh and ah about the changed tone of a terrified and incompetent President, let’s be clear who he is. Racial incitement defines his history, his character, his presidency and his reelection campaign. 

Have no doubt. Trump and his allies will continue to unleash a relentless barrage of xenophobic attacks. They will point fingers at China and all things ‘foreign.’ They will make ludicrous claims that the border wall will protect us from the virus. They will make tortured attempts to deflect from Trump’s mismanagement by blaming ‘dangerous immigrants’ and ‘open borders’ Democrats. 

This is the playbook that’s been in use since Trump came down that golden escalator in 2015. It’s about dehumanizing and demonizing the ‘other,’ keeping his base sated with red meat and righteous anger, and distracting those who seek to hold to account for his incompetence, corruption and mendacity. 

Pastor Eugene Cho responded to Trump’s tweet with this: ‘Mr. President: This is not acceptable. Calling it the ‘Chinese virus’ only instigates blame, racism, and hatred against Asians – here and abroad. We need leadership that speaks clearly against racism; Leadership that brings the nation and world together. Not further divides.’

Ilyse Hogue of NARAL commented: ‘We all have a choice about whether we react with hate and fear in this moment or with compassion and collective kindness. If in doubt, just do the exact opposite of what this President does.’

Dr. Eugene Gu responded to Trump’s tweet, too: ‘There it is. I’ve been deathly afraid of this exact moment where Trump turns to racism and xenophobia and calls COVID-19 the ‘Chinese Virus.’ We are in deep trouble as a nation now that President of the United States makes the conscious decision to go down this dark path of hate….I have never been this scared to be an American.’

Xenophobia is a disease and Trump spreads it to divide Americans, scare voters and enrich his family and friends. It’s always been ugly and un-American. Now it imperils lives.