Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn was heavily criticized on Twitter after saying China “is to blame” for COVID-19 because they “eat bats and snakes and dogs.”
“That’s where it came from,” Cornyn told a reporter after being asked about Republicans calling the pandemic the “Chinese Virus.”
Sen. John Cornyn: “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.” pic.twitter.com/N4TIlGFqAL
— The Hill (@thehill) March 18, 2020
“I think China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu, and now the coronavirus,” Cornyn said. “So I think they have a fundamental problem, and I don’t object to geographically identifying where it’s coming from.”
“We’re not talking about Asians, we’re talking about China where these viruses emanate from and which have created this pandemic,” he continued.
H/T @maggieNYT From VP pool: Fauci described the science behind the #coronavirus, saying it jumped from a bat to a “civet cat” served at feasts in China and then humans. A civet cat pictured here. Also known as a “skunk”. Fauci saying the virus almost certainly jumped specifies. pic.twitter.com/ZO39lnKTWQ
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) February 27, 2020
He’s right. Wild game, bush meat, exotic endangered animals (particularly illegal imports from other parts of the world) form a part of Chinese traditional “medicine” and culinary delicacies.
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) March 19, 2020
Nevertheless, the Texas senator’s comment drew plenty of Twitter backlash from those who felt the observation was “racist”: (RELATED: ‘Why Is It A Racial Slur?’: Things Get Testy When Martha MacCallum Challenges Symone Sanders On ‘Chinese Coronavirus’)
MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia.
Swine Flu was first reported in Mexico.
It is unclear how coronavirus first spread to humans, but may it have been via seafood or animals infected by bats.
What an unbelievably ignorant – and racist – allegation by a sitting US Senator. https://t.co/nwdzHzVVMU
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 18, 2020
Can we go back to when being racist in public wasn’t cool? https://t.co/H1wLhKPsW6
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) March 18, 2020
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) March 18, 2020
Whaaaaat… is happening….. https://t.co/ZhCgrUTsxM
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 18, 2020
Just so we’re all clear: In the middle of a global pandemic, a sitting senator is scapegoating an entire country and peddling racist lies that could very well lead to hate crimes.
Unseat John Cornyn in November. https://t.co/pw7A1ytQAX
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 18, 2020
This is so disgusting, dangerous, ignorant and reckless.
Imagine being a Chinese American now.
— Peter Zizzo (@pzizzo) March 18, 2020
Uhh. Yeah. Vote him out.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 18, 2020
Did @JohnCornyn just roll out a Chinese people eat dogs line? This bigotry virus is spreading fast and deep.
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) March 18, 2020
@JohnCornyn’s brand is bigotry. What a racist gasbag.
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) March 18, 2020
This is a really deplorable thing to say. I cannot understand it at all.
— Nelba Márquez-Greene (@Nelba_MG) March 18, 2020