Queens congresswoman gets racist voicemails over resolution condemning anti-Asian sentiment

Representative Grace Meng speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia
U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Parroting language that the president himself has used, a number of bigots swamped Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng’s voicemail inbox with hateful messages after she sponsored a resolution condemning anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meng posted on her Twitter account a video documenting some of the racist calls she received which contained anti-Asian remarks that President Trump has made about the virus — calling it “Chinese virus” or “kung flu” due to its origination in China.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that Meng had introduced which denounced all expressions of hatred against Asian Americans and called upon all public officials to do the same. It included references from statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield who condemned labeling the coronavirus with references to China as inappropriate.

The resolution did not reference Trump by name or the presidency, yet it passed on a largely party-line vote — with 164 Republicans voting against it.

“After that, I got many racist voicemails saying the very things we collectively condemned,” Meng wrote in her Sept. 25 tweet. “164 Republicans voted against #HRes908 & couldn’t condemn this hate. Words & actions have consequences. #COVID19.”

Most of the calls were traced through Caller ID to out-of-state numbers, according to a spokesperson for Meng’s office. The spokesperson declined to say if the matter was reported to Capitol Police saying “we don’t disclose what we report to Capitol Police for security reasons.”

The voicemails ranged from merely ignorant to malicious and threatening.

One male caller tried to diminish Meng’s stance against anti-Asian sentiment as “baloney.”

Another woman, who appeared to have a drawl, said that Meng “looked like a Chinese virus” and called her a “fat slob.” A male caller used the terms “kung flu virus” and “karate kid virus.” 

“I’ll call the FBI and put you in jail, you dumbass motherf—ker,” raged an unhinged male caller — apparently unaware that drafting and passing a resolution in Congress is not a crime in the United States of America.

Intercut between the racist voicemails are clips of Trump using some of the same terminology at previous press conferences and rallies.

At a June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump called it “kung flu.” He said the same thing during a March 18 press conference at the White House, and at another public event on June 23. Trump has also repeatedly called the coronavirus “Chinese virus.” 

New York City has seen a spike in hate crimes targeting Asian New Yorkers over the past year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In August, the NYPD formed a special Asian American Hate Crime Task Force designed to investigate such incidents across the city and provide greater outreach to victims who may be reluctant to come forward.

The full Meng video is shown below (WARNING: Very graphic and racist language, viewer discretion strongly advised).