Jan 26, 2023
Biden Honors California Shooting Victims at Lunar New Year Event
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said the Asian-American community had experienced profound “pain and violence” as he marked the Lunar New Year at a White House event just days after a deadly mass shooting at a celebration in California left 11 people dead.
“Our prayers are with the people of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay after yet another spree of gun violence in America,” Biden said Thursday evening. “As a nation, we have to be there with you.”
The White House event came after a gunman opened fire on a Lunar New Year celebration at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, the deadliest mass shooting since the massacre last year at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Days after the Monterey Park shooting, another gunman killed seven former coworkers – including some Chinese-Americans – in Half Moon Bay, another California community.
Biden said he had spoken to Representative Judy Chu, a California Democrat, who urged him to carry on with the New Year event at the White House.
“She said we have to move forward. Her message was: Don’t give into fear and sorrow. Don’t do that. Stand in solidarity,” Biden said. “So that’s what we’re going to do tonight. We’ll be there for each other.”
Biden also spoke about his conversation with Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the Monterey Park gunman.
“Brandon said he thought he was going to die, but then he thought about the people inside,” Biden said. “I think sometimes we underestimate incredible acts of courage.”
Read more: Shootings Spur US Cities’ Safety Push for Lunar Year Events
The shootings have renewed fears of anti-Asian violence, which has increased in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. On the campaign trail, Biden rebuked former President Donald Trump for remarks he and his aides made linking the virus, which originated in China, with Asian communities.
Just this week, Donald Trump’s Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, admonished the former president over recent posts attacking her in racist terms on his social media platform. Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, immigrated to the US from Taiwan as a child and issued a statement condemning Trump’s language.
“When I was young, some people deliberately misspelled or mispronounced my name. Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation,” Chao said in a statement to Politico. “He doesn’t seem to understand that, which says a whole lot more about him than it will ever say about Asian Americans.”
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