COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group representing Asian American neighbors of Ohio's Republican lieutenant governor said Monday that he and his family have agreed to meet with them to discuss their concerns about his recent tweet that referred to the coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus."
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted's office didn't immediately return a call seeking to confirm the meeting with residents of Upper Arlington. The group said it is scheduled to meet him Friday.
Asian American residents of the Columbus suburb wrote to Husted last week outlining their concerns over the tweet.
They want to use the meeting to express how his words impacted them during a time when there is an uptick in attacks against members of the Asian American community.
"Your choice of words has only raised the anxiety and fear that Asians and Asian Americans in Upper Arlington are currently experiencing," the March 31 letter read.
"Our children have been targeted for bullying and abuse in the district well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that abuse has increased significantly in the last 14 months and has reached levels that have brought news media attention to our doorsteps," the letter continued.
The letter to Husted has now been signed by more than 80 community members and families, up from the 60 original names.
It came in response to a March 26 tweet where Husted linked to an article in which Robert Redfield, the ex-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, without citing evidence, that he believed the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan.
"So it appears it was the Wuhan Virus after all?" Husted tweeted from his personal account.
In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Husted said he was "just pointing out that this is an international crisis, in my opinion, that the Chinese government is responsible for and I wanted an independent investigation."