President BidenJoe BidenManchin cements key-vote status in 50-50 Senate The Memo: How the COVID year upended politics Post-pandemic plans for lawmakers: Chuck E. Cheese, visiting friends, hugging grandkids MORE condemned “vicious hate crimes” against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities on Thursday during his prime-time address marking the one-year anniversary of coronavirus restrictions.
During his first prime-time speech as president from the White House, Biden acknowledged the grim reality after a year of the pandemic and lockdown, stating that every American has endured some form of loss.
The president went on to state that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders work on the front lines of the pandemic each day, but still fear for their personal safety walking down the street in the U.S.
“It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop,” Biden said.
Instead of working together to combat the virus, “too often, we’ve turned against one another,” Biden continued.
He added that Asian Americans have been “attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated” since the COVID-19 hit the U.S.
“So many of them are fellow Americans, are on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives — and still are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in 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 increase in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders came after the coronavirus pandemic, believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, hit the U.S. in the early part of 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 such as former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: How the COVID year upended politics Biden seeks his moment with pandemic address A year with the coronavirus: How we got here MORE.
During his time in office, Trump also repeatedly blamed the coronavirus pandemic on China, a move that exacerbated tensions between Beijing and Washington.