On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver spoke about the rise in violence against Asian Americans over the last year, and for a moment concentrated specifically on the rhetoric that many believe has played a part in it. Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly used the phrase “the China virus” when referring to COVID-19. Despite warnings it could lead to anti-Asian sentiment, The View co-host Meghan McCain had this to say when discussing the use of the phrase last year.
“I think if the left wants to focus on PC labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump reelected,” McCain said. “I don't have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It's a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan (China). I don't have a problem with it.”
“Oh, good, Meghan McCain doesn't have a problem with it,” Oliver said in response. “Listen not to the scores of Asian Americans telling everyone that the term is dangerous and offensive! Instead, gather round, and take the word of a wealthy white woman who's dressed like she's about to lay off 47 people over zoom.”
Following the deadly shooting spree in Georgia last week that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women, McCain posted a tweet reading ,”STOP ASIAN HATE.” But Oliver believes the damage caused by McCain and others who were okay with the term “China virus” has already been done.
“A fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact,” Oliver said, “but there has to be an understanding that saying, ‘I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus’ is very much giving space for that hate to grow.”