Trump campaign ad suggests a former US governor is Chinese

Xenophobic Trump 2020 ad wrongly implies governor is Chinese and blames Biden for supplies sent to China by his own administration

Incoherent ad blames Biden for helping China hoard supplies that Trump administration sent

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 10 April 2020 15:59

The Trump re-election campaign’s latest 2020 election attack ad against Vice President Joe Biden portrays him as soft on China, and falsely suggests that an Asian-American former governor is Chinese.

In a montage that begins with the presumptive Democratic nominee for president raising a toast with Chinese premier Xi Jinping, an image flashes up of Mr Biden sharing a stage with Gary Locke, former governor of Washington, President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary, and former Ambassador to China.

Mr Locke is Chinese-American.

The release of the ad is especially poorly-timed as Asian Americans are forced to deal with xenophobic attacks, and in some cases violence, from racists blaming them for the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The montage also includes a news clip that says Mr Biden helped his son Hunter Biden profit from investments in China.

Tim Murtagh, director of communications for the Trump campaign, tweeted that the footage of Mr Locke was chosen as it places Mr Biden in Beijing in 2013 — the trip on which Hunter accompanied him.

Given the complete lack of context to the clip in a fast-paced montage, people were quick to accuse the campaign of using it purely as it shows Mr Biden with an ethnically-Chinese man in front of Chinese and US flags.

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted: “Goddamn this s*** is infuriating. Gary Locke is as American as the day is long.”

Mr Yang also criticised another element of the ad that refers to the administration’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic: “Trump rewriting history as if he effectively responded to the virus is utter garbage. We lost 70 days and thousands of lives due to his incompetence and disregard for what was happening overseas.”

The ad accuses China of hoarding supplies and infers that Mr Biden is somehow to blame. An accusation that is branded as “incoherent” by Tommy Vietor, former National Security Council spokesperson for President Obama.

Mr Vietor points to a 4 February tweet from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, lauding the US’ donation of supplies to China: “Proud of our rapid facilitation of the delivery of donated life-saving personal protection equipment and medical and humanitarian relief supplies to the people affected by the #coronavirus in #China. Grateful to the generous US organisations donating to the relief efforts.”

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