Donald Trump is facing a backlash from Asian American voters after the president used a mock Asian accent at a high-priced fundraiser, one that has widely been decried as racist.
Trump came under fire for the exaggerated accent he used when mimicking the leaders of Japan and South Korea at a fundraiser in the Hamptons earlier this month. As the New York Post reported, Trump used the accent when discussing the relationship with the U.S. allies, leading the left-leaning Politicus USA and a number of other news reports to describe it as “racist.”
The incident came as Donald Trump was already under fire for a series of incidents widely decried as racist, including his telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “original” countries. He later took aim at a majority-black congressional district in Maryland, echoing a Fox News report that had aired just minutes earlier. Trump described the district, which contains the city of Baltimore, as a “rat and rodent infested mess.”
Donald Trump defended himself against the accusations, insisting in remarks to reporters afterward that he is the “least racist” person in the world.
But Trump’s use of the mock Asian accent has led to a backlash among Asian American voters, the Associated Press noted. The report spoke to Korean American voter Amanda Berg, who said that Trump’s racially divisive rhetoric was empowering racists.
“It empowers people who would be predisposed to doing that kind of thing anyway,” Berg said. “And it makes it acceptable to be openly, increasingly discriminating.”
Others said that they have come to expect such racially charged language from Trump, and are not expecting him to apologize for it.
“It was a time where even though we were very offended by the remarks, we thought it might make a difference to ask for an apology. But with President Trump, one doesn’t expect that,” said Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Defense and Education Legal Fund. “That’s part of the way he speaks, the way he acts which is offensive. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get the kind of attention that maybe it should.”
President Trump reportedly mocked the accents of two Asian leaders, angering some Asian American voters at a time when their power is growing and they're veering more left. https://t.co/h532FF7MVR— The Associated Press (@AP) August 21, 2019
The report noted that Trump may particular trouble if he angers Asian American voters as a whole. The demographic could be a key factor in swing states, including Nevada where 5 percent of registered voters are Asian American. They also make up 5 percent of registered voters in Virginia. Nearly three-quarters of Asian Americans are now registered as Democrats, the report added.