“He’s literally financing his campaign with a tactic that has been shown to exacerbate anti-Asian racism"
GOP House candidate Nick Freitas is being criticised for racism after selling anti-China face masks.
As Coronavirus lockdowns begin to lift, face masks are becoming the norm in society.
Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) decided to capitalize on the opportunity and sell masks himself as part of the Republican campaign.
In a tweet, Del. Mark Cole(R-Fredericksburg) shared an image of himself wearing the red face masks that he said he purchased from Freitas.
“COVID-19, MADE IN CHINA,” the mask reads.
The masks are on sale on Freitas’s campaign website as one of three masks for a minimum donation of $20.
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) Action Fund director Sookyung Oh said she and other Asian American community leaders were “shocked” by the masks.
“He’s literally financing his campaign with a tactic that has been shown to exacerbate anti-Asian racism,” Oh said.
NAKASEC Action Fund issued an open letter to the Freitas campaign to stop selling the masks.
Asian American lawmakers from Virginia, Dels. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) and Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) also signed the statement.
Freitas is running against first-term Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) in central Virginia’s largely rural 7th District.
“Blaming China for the COVID-19 crisis in the United States has led to a sharp increase of racially motivated attacks and discrimination against people of Chinese descent and others perceived to be of Chinese descent,” the statement said.
“Nick Freitas’ campaign, and the implied support from Del. Mark Cole, exacerbates anti-Asian racism and endangers our lives.”
Freitas campaign manager Joe Desilets defended the masks stating they are targeting the “communist regime in China” that “lied to the world and enabled a deadly virus to spread, leading to a global pandemic.”
“This is the same regime that violently suppresses its own people, press, and scientific community. Nick will not hesitate to hold such a regime accountable,” Desilets said.
Cole also defended the masks stating, “I think there’s nothing wrong with it, and I think it’s a good way to encourage people to wear masks.”
In other news, a pregnant Asian American mother was punched in the face in Philadelphia but police are not treating it as a hate crime.
— Del. Mark Cole (@MarkColeVA) July 31, 2020