Trump looms over Senate’s anti-Asian hate crimes battle

Ninety-two senators voted last week to advance an Asian American hate crimes bill. But its passage likely depends on Democrats agreeing to soften language that Republicans say ties hate crimes too narrowly to the characterization of COVID-19 as the “China virus.”

Even Republicans who voted to advance the hate crimes legislation sponsored by Sen.Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) see it as a jab at President Trump. The bill links his characterization of COVID-19 as the “China virus” to racist and hateful acts.

Republicans also see language in the bill as opening the door to politically correct thought-police squads. Specifically, they are critical of a provision that instructs Attorney GeneralMerrick Garland and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to issue guidance on “best practices” for language describing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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