Meghan McCain is apologizing for her past comments that condoned former President Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric towards Asians.
“The View” host took to Twitter to share a statement, backing down on her previous support for Trump’s usage of racist terms like “China virus” when referencing COVID-19.
“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community,” McCain tweeted Monday. “There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”
A study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health found that people who used #chinesevirus on Twitter were much more likely to include anti-Asian hashtags than those who used #covid19 in their tweets.
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Her response comes after John Oliver used a segment of “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday to call her out for her hypocritical response to Tuesday’s Atlanta spa shootings, in which the majority of victims were of Asian descent.
During the show, Oliver included a video of McCain from last year, in which she minimized the impact of Trump’s references to COVID-19 as the “China virus” during an episode of “The View.”
“I think if the left wants to focus on P.C. labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump re-elected,” she said in the video. “I don’t have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It’s a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan.”
Oliver responded to the clip by criticizing her for condoning a “dangerous and offensive” term.
“Oh good! Meghan McCain doesn’t have a problem with (the term),” he said. “Listen not to the scores of Asian Americans telling everyone that the term is dangerous and offensive. Instead, gather around and take the word of a wealthy white woman who’s dressed like she’s about to lay off 47 people over Zoom.”
He also pointed out her hypocrisy in sharing a #StopAsianHate post with three broken heart emojis, explaining that “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 hate to grow.”
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Seven women and one man, most of them of Asian descent, were killed Tuesday night in three Atlanta-area spa shootings. Two shootings were in northeast Atlanta and the third in Cherokee County. Police arrested 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long as the suspected gunman. Police said Long told authorities his actions were motivated by a sex addiction, not race, and he may have frequented some of the spas where the shootings happened.
While police said Long told authorities his actions were motivated by sex addiction, many experts and top Asian American lawmakers say it’s hard not to see racism inextricably tied to the killings due to a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.
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Contributing line: Elizabeth Weise, Jordan Culver