A report this week about the temporary location of some of the documents at issue in the Joe Biden classified materials case led to one of the most nakedly racist social media posts ever posted by former President Donald Trump.
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The Daily Mail reported Monday that the classified materials that were discovered late last year at the Washington offices of the Penn Biden Center had, following the end of the Obama-Biden Administration, been housed for a few months in 2017 at another location, in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. That office was a government transition office, used before the Penn Biden Center offices were ready.
That the office was located in Chinatown appears to have set off a new conspiracy theory, at least as indicated by Trump in a Truth Social post on Monday.
Donald Trump Goes Racist
“Does Coco Chow have anything to do with Joe Biden’s Classified Documents being sent and stored in Chinatown?” Trump posted. “Her husband, the Old Broken Crow, is VERY close to Biden, the Democrats, and, of course, China. He gives them all whatever they want!”
For those not versed in Trump-speak, “Coco Chow” is Trump’s nickname for Elaine Chao, who was the Secretary of Transportation for the majority of Trump’s presidency, until she resigned after the January 6 riot. “Old Broken Crow” is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, who is married to Chao.
Aside from the racist “Coco Chow” nickname, there is no reason to believe that the sitting Secretary of Transportation would have anything to do with the placement of documents from the previous presidential administration.
Furthermore, Chao, who is Taiwanese-American, is not Chinese, nor is she an agent of the Chinese government. (But if she were, Trump apparently had no issue appointing her to his Cabinet and keeping her there for nearly four years.)
As for Chinatown, it is a neighborhood in Washington only blocks away from the White House, and it is not the slightest bit out of the ordinary for an office in that area to be used for such purposes.
Chinatown is not part of China, it is not the Chinese embassy, nor is it controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
On Sunday, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo talked about the Daily Mail story, while emphasizing both the word “Chinatown” and the name of the Biden aide, Kathy Chung, who was responsible for overseeing the moving of the documents, adding on “we do not know if she was… reporting back to the Chinese Communist Party.”
Perhaps needless to say, there is absolutely no evidence that Chung, who is Korean-American, is “reporting back to the Chinese Communist Party.”
It’s possible that Donald Trump learned about the Chinatown theory from Bartiromo’s show, of which he is known to be a fan and occasional guest.
There was a similar controversy in February of 2020, at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited San Francisco’s Chinatown and encouraged people to visit and shop there, amid anti-Asian sentiment at the time.
“She wanted everyone to pack into Chinatown long after I closed the BORDER TO CHINA. Based on her statement, she is responsible for many deaths. She’s an incompetent, third-rate politician,” Trump tweeted at the time, along with a video of Pelosi in Chinatown. He also falsely stated that Pelosi had deleted the video from her Twitter account.
Finally, he falsely stated that Pelosi had called for a parade in Chinatown.
A few months later, Donald Trump stated, falsely, that Pelosi had said during her Chinatown visit in February that “it’s okay to come to the United States. It’s fine. It’s wonderful. Come on in. Bring your infection with you.” Pelosi had not encouraged anyone to come to the United States from China but had merely encouraged people to spend money in Chinatown, a fine neighborhood in a prominent American city, at a time when the first lockdowns were weeks away.
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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.