A GOP lawmaker in Maine is the target of backlash after calling COVID-19 the "China virus" in an email to an Asian-American woman, the Bangor Daily News reports. The Republican is quoting scripture to defend himself.
State Rep. Michael Lemelin responded to an email from Krista Gerrity who expressed concern over Republican lawmakers who want to loosen coronavirus restrictions. In his response, Lemelin called the virus the "China virus." He also called for children to return to school without masks.
Speaking to Newscenter Maine, Gerrity said that she and her children have seen the increase in racist attacks on Asian Americans and that using such language propagates "more hatred, more fear, more xenophobia."
Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Ryan Fecteau, a Democrat, slammed Lemelin's comments as "racist," adding that his words are are "totally beneath the office which he holds."
But Lemelin is making no apologies. When asked to comment, he quoted a Bible passage where Jesus said, "If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"
"It is a wise man who rules Covid, and a fool who is ruled by Covid," Lemelin said. "We are being ruled by Covid."
Watch a report on the story from Newscenter Maine below: