By Michael Haynes
President Joe Biden has issued a memorandum effectively banning the use of terms like “China virus” to denote COVID-19 by government and administration officials.
The memorandum to combat “Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States” was published yesterday on the White House website.
Without mentioning his predecessor President Donald Trump by name, Biden accused the government of being complicit in promoting racism: “The Federal Government must recognize that it has played a role in furthering these xenophobic sentiments through the actions of political leaders, including references to the COVID-19 pandemic by the geographic location of its origin.”
Those statements, Biden declared, resulted in an increase in “bullying, harassment, and hate crimes” against “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
As a result of Biden’s order, government departments and agencies have been told to “ensure” that any official “actions, documents, and statements” pertaining to COVID-19 are free from language which Biden deems racist towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
In addition, Biden ordered his future Secretary of Health and Human Services — pro-abortion Xavier Becerra has not yet been confirmed by the Senate — to issue “guidance” to promote “cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the context of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response.”
“In developing any such guidance, the Secretary should consider the best practices set forth by public health organizations and experts for mitigating racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Trump faced public backlash from political opponents and the mainstream media when he used the terms “Chinese/China/Wuhan virus” to describe COVID-19, but defended himself by saying, “[I]t comes from China. It’s not racist at all, no, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate.”
Then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also defended the geographical description of the virus: “It’s not a discussion about Asian Americans, who the president values and prizes as citizens of this great country. It is an indictment of China for letting this virus get here.”
Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state for Trump spoke to Fox News on Tuesday, defending the use of the term: “I’ve called it the Wuhan virus almost since its inception. It began in Wuhan. It is, in fact, a virus that came from that place. We know that the Chinese Communist Party covered that up.”