President BidenJoe BidenManchin Consolidates Key Vote Status In Senate 50-50 Memo: How The COVID Year Changed Politics Post-pandemic Plans For Legislators: Chuck E. Cheese, Visiting Friends, Grandchildren Hugs MORE He condemned “vicious hate crimes” against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities on Thursday during his primetime address marking the first anniversary of the coronavirus restrictions.
During his first prime-time address as White House president, Biden acknowledged the sad reality after a year of pandemic and shutdown, and claimed that all Americans have suffered some form of loss.
The president went on to assert that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders work on the front lines of the pandemic every day, but still fear for their personal safety when walking down the street in the US.
“It’s wrong. It’s anti-American. And it must stop,” Biden said.
Instead of working together to fight the virus, “too often, we’ve turned against each other,” Biden continued.
He added that Asian Americans have been “attacked, harassed, blamed and made scapegoats” since COVID-19 hit the United States.
“Many of them are fellow Americans, they are on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives, and they are still forced to live in fear for their lives just walking the streets of America,” he said.
Violent attacks against Asian-Americans increased last year by nearly 150 percent in major cities, especially New York City and Los Angeles, NBC News reports.
The rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders came after the coronavirus pandemic, believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, struck the US in early 2020.
More than 3,000 hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported since the coronavirus pandemic began, which Democratic lawmakers and community activists say are linked to anti-Asian rhetoric used by political figures like former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe memorandum: How the COVID year changed politics Biden seeks his moment with the pandemic speech One year with the coronavirus: How we got here MORE.
During his tenure, Trump also repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, a move that exacerbated tensions between Beijing and Washington.