COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) — Lt. Governor Jon Husted is responding after being criticized for a tweet where he referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan Virus”.
Husted tweeted this on Friday from his personal Twitter account:
He was quickly criticized for being tone deaf, with some calling his tweet racist.
“It had nothing to do with race, or ethnicity, or violence, or any other thing. It had to do with science, it had to do with the Chinese government, it had to do with a virus,” Husted said.
The lieutenant governor likened calling the coronavirus the “Wuhan Virus” with how we label variants by the region they come from.
“It had nothing to do with race or ethnicity and frankly, I’m a little angry at the people who tried to make it so because I believe that’s intentional, too,” Husted said.
Despite what Husted said his intentions were, many people do believe the tweet is an issue of race.
“When he says ‘Wuhan Virus’ during a time-sensitive period for us Asian Americans, I think he then leads to a blame game of racial profiling that increases Asian American hate crimes,” said State Sen. Tina Maharath (D – Canal Winchester).
Maharath is the first Asian American female to serve in the Ohio State Senate. She wants to see an apology from the lieutenant governor.
“I was annoyed because that’s our lieutenant governor in the state that I live in, in the state I represent, in the state where I was born who doesn’t understand that viruses don’t have borders,” Maharath said.
Husted said he does not regret hitting send on the tweet.
“I don’t regret sending it because it was based on fact and trying to raise awareness about the need of an independent investigation,” he said.
“He really needs to take another cultural competency course because this is not OK,” Maharath said.
Husted did say there is no room for hate in Ohio.
“Let me just say as an elected leader of the state of Ohio, Asian Americans have been great contributors and sacrificed and made America a wonderful country,” he said.