“It’s my belief that (the Chinese Government’s) hiding of information, their lack of responsiveness, has led to this pandemic,” Husted said. “And we have to be able to have that conversation without connecting it in any way to any Chinese-American, any Asian-American in this country.”
Husted made the comments at Thursday’s state COVID-19 update and explained why he referenced the incendiary term “Wuhan Virus” in a recent tweet.
“The purpose for my tweet was to raise awareness about what happened in China as it relates to the coronavirus,” he said. “We know that in Wuhan there is a lab; that circumstantial evidence is building that the lab could have been the origin, or a Chinese wet market.”
Husted did not cite any specific evidence of the origin of the virus, which has not yet been pinpointed by scientists. Many Asian-Americans believe the use of terms like “Wuhan Virus” or “Chinese Virus” — favored by former President Donald Trump — has led to violence against the community.
“There’s a lot of disagreement among Asian-Americans who, some of them don’t want to brought into this, they want to be classified as Americans and not Asian-Americans,” Husted said. “People of different heritages view the issue differently.”
Husted said he was trying to explain that the Chinese Government must be held accountable for the beginnings of the pandemic, and that he was not disparaging the Asian-American community.
“It’s one of those things I hope, by having these conversations, we can create some more understanding — that we can be empathetic to the fears that some in the Chinese-American community have about hate and violence.”
Husted is reportedly set to meet with members of the Upper Arlington Asian community on Friday to discuss a letter they wrote condemning his tweet.