Following a suspected hate stabbing that hospitalized an Asian family in West Texas this week, Texas Democrats are calling out the dog-whistle politics of Republicans amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“These racist political games will have real consequences for our communities,” state Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) said in a statement on Thursday. “This rhetoric distracts us from properly preparing for this crisis, and it will further increase the number of attacks and assaults against innocent Asian Americans.”
On Sunday, a 19-year-old man was charged with three counts of attempted capital murder after allegedly stabbing a family of four, including two children, at a Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas. According to CBS 7, the suspect told police he was attempting to kill the family shopping in the store.
“Asian-American communities are placed at risk when officials use inflammatory language meant to ascribe blame,” state Rep. Rafael Anchía, chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of which Wu is a member of, said in a statement. “Now is the time to stand together towards our common goal: the health and safety of all our communities.”
The stabbing and denunciation of Republican rhetoric follows President Trump’s description of coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” on Monday. It also follows factually inaccurate and racist comments made by Sen. John Cornyn on Wednesday blaming the “cultural habits” of Chinese people for the virus.
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a series of directives closing schools and restricting bars and restaurants in the state until April 3. Health officials are asking Texans to not gather in groups larger than 10.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas has climbed to 143. More than 2,000 Texans have been tested so far, more than two weeks after the first case was discovered.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at email@example.com