Former President Donald Trump is learning that flippant use of harmful words has consequences, as he is reportedly being sued by a civil rights group for calling COVID-19 the "China virus" repeatedly — putting Chinese Americans lives in danger in the process.
The Chinese Americans Civil Rights Coalition (CACRC) is claiming that Trump's use of the phrase and similar terms has caused irreparable harm to the Chinese American community.
Trump’s "extreme and outrageous conduct was carried out throughout the pandemic with reckless disregard of whether such conduct would cause Chinese Americans to suffer emotional distress," the lawsuit claims.
The CACRC is seeking roughly $22.9 million in compensation, alleging defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
Jason Miller — Trump's senior advisor — fired back at the civil rights group, calling the lawsuit "insane" and "idiotic," adding: "it will be dismissed if it ever sees a courtroom.”"
While in office and upon being booted from the White House, the former president routinely referred to the coronavirus as the "China virus," the "Wuhan virus," and the "kung flu," and even has defended his use of the term when confronted.
During a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June 2020, Trump referred to Covid-19 as the "kung flu," publicly. "By the way, it's a disease, without question, [that] has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu, I can name 19 different versions of names," he said during the fiery speech.
After being condemned by political colleagues and civil rights groups for his use of the harmful phrase, Trump's then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended his use of the inflammatory statement.
"He is linking it to its place of origin," McEnany said, arguing that Mr. Trump was stressing that the virus started in China. Later, she said, "The president does not believe it's offensive to note that the virus came from China," reported the WSJ.
Many argue that the 45th president’s flippant use of the term has caused an increase in violence and discrimination against the Asian American community.
A study released in March revealed there had been nearly a 150 percent surge in reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020 following the first reported outbreak of the coronavirus.
The lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.