Trump infamously called COVID-19 “the China virus” numerous times throughout his presidency last year, and his comments were widely condemned as xenophobic and racist. Other terms he’s used to describe the virus include “the Wuhan virus,” and “Kung Flu.” TMZ reports that the Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition claims his usage of these terms, which only further emboldens racists, contributed to the recent increase in hate crimes directed at Asian Americans.
The legal documents say that Trump’s “extreme and outrageous conduct was carried out throughout the pandemic with reckless disregard of whether such conduct would cause Chinese Americans to suffer emotional distress." They also assert that Trump “intentionally” used these terms “to serve his own personal and political interest with astonishing levels of actual malice and negligence, hence severly injuring the Chinese/Asian American communities in the process.”
In a statement shared with the Hill on Friday, Trump’s senior adviser Jason Miller dismissed the lawsuit as “a complete joke.” He added, “This is an insane and idiotic lawsuit that is specious at best, and it will dismissed if it ever sees a courtroom." The Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition is suing Trump for defamation and infliction of emtoional distress, and is asking for $1 per every Asian American and Pacific Islander in the United States, which would be $22.9 million.