Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a well-regarded conservative talk show host and senior Republican official, is in hot water after a bigoted tweet he sent out on Saturday.
"I’ve decided to 'identify' as Chinese. Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my 'values' and I’ll probably get shoes from Nike & tickets to @MLB games. Ain’t America great?" he tweeted in reference to the recent decision by Major League Baseball to move the All-Star game out of Georgia after the state passed a draconian voter restriction bill.
I’ve decided to “identify” as Chinese. Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my “values” and I’ll probably get shoes from Nike & tickets to @MLB games. Ain’t America great?— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) April 3, 2021
The tweet was made as the country contends with an alarming increase in attacks on Asian Americans and Asian immigrants. Many Asian American experts, lawmakers and activists have repeatedly said that the rhetoric used by Republicans toward China and COVID-19 has stoked resentment and violence toward people of Asian descent throughout the country.
Thousands of people came out to criticize Huckabee's tweet for continuing to stoke backlash against Chinese Americans, Chinese immigrants and people of Asian descent, also noting that he sent the bigoted message out one day before the Easter Holiday celebrated by many Christians, of which Huckabee claims he is one.
Christian author and speaker Beth Moore tweeted back to Huckabee that his tweet was "entirely antithetical to the gospel."
He replied that he does not take Twitter seriously and wished her a happy Easter. But the tweet did not go over well with Asian American lawmakers.
House Rep. Ted Lieu shot back at Huckabee, writing, "Hey Mike Huckabee, I asked around and Coke likes me, Delta agrees with my values, I wear Nikes and my hometown Dodgers won the World Series."
"But it’s not because of my ethnicity. It’s because I’m not a sh*thead like you who is adding fuel to anti-Asian hate," he wrote.
Hey Mike Huckabee, I asked around and Coke likes me, Delta agrees with my values, I wear Nikes and my hometown Dodgers won the World Series.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 4, 2021
But it’s not because of my ethnicity. It’s because I’m not a sh*thead like you who is adding fuel to anti-Asian hate.#StopAAPIHate https://t.co/Zs9spYu9GL
Local news outlets in Arkansas are now pressing Huckabee and his daughter, former White House Press secretary and candidate for governor of the state Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for a comment about the tweet considering the national backlash it has garnered, according to Arkansas Times.
“Dear @SarahHuckabee: You defended the former President’s use of racist phrases like Kung Flu. Do you condone Mike Huckabee adding fuel to anti-Asian hate? Asking on behalf of Americans everywhere who drink Coke, fly Delta, wear Nikes and watch baseball. #StopAsianHate,” Lieu later tweeted.
Huckabee was far from the only Republican to target China in anger at the MLB. Senator Mark Rubio tweeted out his sentiments toward the MLB.
"Dear GOP: @MLB caves to pressure & moves draft & #AllStarGame out of Georgia on the same week they announce a deal with a company backed by the genocidal Communist Party of #China. Why are we still listening to these woke corporate hypocrites on taxes, regulations & anti-trust?" Rubio wrote.
Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted, asking the MLB how many days China allows for early voting.
"Hey Joe Biden, you gonna boycott the Beijing Olympics because of mass genocide? Or are you just into hurting Atlanta small businesses that were planning on the all-star game? Americans are sick of this woke BS. @MLB is a disgrace," House Rep. Dan Crenshaw added in a tweet.
In spite of the mass shootings and violent street attacks against Asians seen over the last month, Republican leaders have continued to repeatedly use the country of China and the Chinese government in their criticisms of a variety of American issues.
Republican leaders have assailed the avalanche of corporate statements coming out against the law, criticizing the companies for focusing too much on actions taken in the United States and allegedly turning a blind eye to similarly repressive actions by the Chinese government.
Last year, when NBA players spoke out about the protests over police brutality and racism, Republican lawmakers said it was unfair for American players to speak out about issues in the country unless they were also willing to speak out against the Chinese government.
People of Asian descent have repeatedly said this rhetoric puts Asian people in danger of violence, even from those who may not be Republicans.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia state Senator Michelle Au spoke to lawmakers about the wave of anti-Asian racism taking hold of the country since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic just one day before the attack on massage parlors in the Atlanta area.
"Asian Americans are part of our country's plurality. We are some of the many, and we're part of that one. And all I'm asking right now, as the first East Asian state senator in Georgia, is simply to fully consider us as part of our communities. Recognize that we need help, we need protection, and we need people in power to stand up for us against hate," Au said, adding that statistics show a 150% increase in attacks on Asian Americans and Asian immigrants between 2019 and 2020.