On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver opened the show addressing the rise in violence against Asian Americans over the past year, which many believe is due to rhetoric used by people in power when referencing COVID-19. Former President Donald Trump came under fire for constantly referring to coronavirus as “the China virus” and refused to stop using the term despite warnings of where it might lead.
“Just last year, many were loudly warning that Trump calling COVID names like "the China virus" was likely to lead to a rise in violence against people of Asian descent,” Oliver said, “an argument that, at the time, not everyone seemed to find convincing.”
“I think if the left wants to focus on P.C. labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump reelected,” McCain said. “I don't have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It's a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan [China]. I don't have a problem with it.”
Oliver castigated McCain for not heeding the warnings about the consequences of such rhetoric at the time.
“Oh, good, Meghan McCain doesn't have a problem with it,” Oliver said. “Listen not to the scores of Asian Americans telling everyone that the term is dangerous and offensive! Instead, gather round, and take the word of a wealthy white woman who's dressed like she's about to lay off 47 people over Zoom.”
Following the shooting spree in Georgia last week that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women, McCain posted a tweet in support of Asian Americans.
But to Oliver, the damage caused by the sentiment McCain and others espoused had already been done.
“A fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact,” Oliver said, “but there has to be an understanding that saying ‘I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus’ is very much giving space for that hate to grow.”
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