Sen. John Cornyn Faces Racism Accusations After Blaming Coronavirus on Chinese Culture

click to enlarge GAGE SKIDMORE, FLICKR.COM
Gage Skidmore,
Days after taking heat for a tweet joking about the coronavirus, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, now faces accusations of racism for claiming China is "to blame" for the outbreak because its people "eat bats and snakes and dogs."

The comment came after a reporter asked Cornyn, an unflinching ally of President Donald Trump, about the wisdom of the president and other GOP officials labeling the coronavirus a “Chinese Virus.”

“China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu,” Cornyn said. His remark seems to echo a debunked rumor that the COVID-19 outbreak came from someone eating bat soup.

The reporter from The Hill tweeted video of Cornyn's reply.

Cornyn, who faces a tough reelection fight in November, is now drawing a chorus of condemnation from legislators and civil rights groups decrying his comments as racist dog whistles.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, called Cornyn's comments “disgusting” and an attempt to “shift attention away from President Trump's truncated response” to the pandemic. 

“Disparaging an entire ethnic group and culture like this is bigotry, plain and simple,” Chu told USA Today. “Blaming Chinese people en masse for the spread of this disease is the exact same bigoted line that was used to justify the Chinese Exclusion Act over a century ago.

Beyond that, Cornyn's statement that MERS and Swine Flu originated in China is utter bullshit. While the first SARS cases were reported in China, Swine flu was first detected in the United States and MERS was first identified in Jordan, according to federal health officials.

Further, the Washington Post also points out that as recently as a year ago, Cornyn had no problem with his own constituents eating snakes. Last year, he shared a column on his website appearing to praise Texans' appetite for rattlesnake meat.

“Festivals and roundups all across the state showcase daredevil handlers performing bold and dangerous acts, demonstrations of milking the venomous snakes to produce the antidote, and fryers filled with fresh rattlesnake meat, seasoned with garlic and lemon for taste,” the column reads.

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