Texas Rep. Chip Roy is under fire for controversial statements he made at a House hearing on anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination.
The hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties came March 18 after a series of hate crimes against Asian Americans, including three shootings at Atlanta-area businesses on Tuesday in which eight people were killed. Six of the victims in the Atlanta-area attacks were Asian women.
Roy (R-Texas) represents Texas' 21st Congressional District, which includes parts of Austin, San Antonio and the Hill Country. He defeated Wendy Davis in the 2020 general election.
In his opening statement, Roy, who was acting as ranking member, said that while he wants justice for the victims of Tuesday's shooting he had concerns about the hearing.
"My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric, in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys," Roy said.
The Texas representative's comments from the hearing were trending Thursday on Twitter.
Roy said that the victims of race-based violence deserve justice. Video on Twitter shows Roy suggesting that the "bad guys" be lynched.
Subcommittee Chair Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. responded to Roy, saying that the hearing was not just about speech but about violent actions, including incidents in which Asian Americans were spit on, hit and lit on fire, ABC News reported.
According to USA TODAY, Rep. Grace Meng also responded, saying, "This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community, to find solutions. And we will not let you take our voice from us."
Video surfaced on Twitter of Roy going on to say that the "China Communist Party, running the country of China, I think they're the bad guys. and I think they are harming people ... and what they did to hide the reality of this virus is equally deserving of condemnation."
Asian American lawmakers, scholars and advocates, including actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim, testified Thursday at the hearing. The hearing reportedly became emotional at times, with Cohen at one point saying, "Congress sees you, we stand with you. We're gonna do everything in our power to protect you."
The City of Austin Equity Office has reported an uptick in Asian American hate crimes.
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