Republican Official Insisted His State Had Been Spared From Coronavirus Because There Are Few Chinese People There

I wonder what he has to say now that 458 people have died in his state.

607 points

President Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric blaming the Chinese for the coronavirus has been repeated by Republicans across the country, but a Republican official in Kansas went even further.

Trump has taken to referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” in a desperate bid to distract from his failed response to the pandemic that has now infected over 6 million Americans and has killed nearly 200,000.

The virus may originate from China, but it’s wrong to blame Chinese people for it.

Yet that’s what Riley County Commissioners Republican Chairman Marvin Rodriguez did while speaking to the Kansas City Star at the start of the pandemic when he bragged about his state of Kansas not being as impacted because there are few Chinese people living there.


Manhattan, Kansas Mayor Usha Reddi attended a commissioners’ meeting to convince them to declare an emergency, but all Reddi got in return is xenophobic bullsh*t from Rodriguez.

“I’m paraphrasing, but he said we don’t have a problem here because Italy has a lot of Chinese people, and we don’t have that problem here,” Reddi said.

Reached by phone for comment, Rodriguez doubled down.

“There’s a garment industry and a lot of Chinese,” he said. “If we were like Italy, we’d have it already.”

Except that Kansas does have it. In fact, 44,000 Kansans are infected and 458 deaths have been recorded in the state so far. If anything, the fact that the state is mostly rural and in the center of the country are reasons why it hadn’t been more impacted. But it’s widespread there now and it has nothing to do with whether there are Chinese people living there or not, and everything to do with conservatives like Rodriguez denying reality and science.

This virus is highly contagious and can be contracted and spread by humans of every race. Rodriguez even pushed a conspiracy theory that the Chinese infected the world on purpose.

“Well, they say it came out of China, and I’m not putting it past the Chinese government in communist China,” he said. “Normally, this kind of thing spreads slowly. I put two and two together. I’ve been around a long time, girl.”

Yeah, too long, apparently.

Featured image via Flickr/White House, under Creative Commons license 2.0

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