U.S. House resolution opposes anti-Asian coronavirus rhetoric, including Trump's 'China virus'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday denouncing anti-Asian rhetoric related to the coronavirus pandemic, including expressions like “China virus” frequently used by President Donald Trump.

The resolution, introduced by Democratic Representative Grace Meng, passed 243 to 163, largely along party lines. Fourteen Republicans voted yes along with 229 Democrats. All of the “no” votes came from Republicans.

The measure calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment in any form, condemns manifestations of racism and xenophobia and calls on law enforcement to investigate all forms of hate crime.

The resolution notes that U.S. health officials have said it is “inappropriate and inaccurate to call COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus,’” and recommends that U.S. leaders combat misinformation and discrimination.

There has been a surge of verbal and physical assaults on Asian-Americans since the coronavirus took hold in the United States, with advocacy groups and researchers reporting thousands of such incidents.

“Passing #HRes908 sends a unified message that such bigotry, hatred & xenophobia will not be tolerated,” Meng said on Twitter.

Since the novel coronavirus emerged in China late last year, the United States has had the most COVID-19 cases and related deaths in the world.

The measure is a resolution expressing the intent of the Democratic-led House, so it would not be sent for consideration by the Republican-led Senate or to the White House for Trump to sign or veto.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, who leads Trump’s fellow Republicans in the House, said consideration of the non-binding resolution wasted lawmakers’ time and that the House should be focused on bigger issues such as how best to compete with China.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Berkrot