Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) kicked off a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the recent spike in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans with some comments that drew fierce blowback. Roy began by acknowledging the Tuesday shooting in Atlanta that killed six Asian women as tragedy, but then pivoted to criticize the hearing and declare he believes in justice in unrelated situations as well.
"There's an old saying in Texas about 'find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree,'" he said. "You know, we take justice very seriously."
California Rep. Ted Lieu (D) said Roy's comments "glorified lynching."
Roy later defended his comments, telling Mediaite:
"Apparently some folks are freaking out that I used an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree about carrying out justice against bad guys. ... I meant it. We need more justice and less thought police. We need to stop evil doers – such as those who carried out the attack in Atlanta this week, or cartels abusing little children, or those who kill our cops on the streets. We should restore order by tamping out evil actors… not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese Communists who seek to destroy us. No apologies."
His defense echoed other remarks that angered lawmakers during the hearing. Though the focus was on racist violence and discrimination against Asian Americans, Roy ranted against the Chinese government. "I think the Chinese Communist Party running the country of China, I think they are the bad guys," he said. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) argued that using the hearing for irrelevant criticism of China's government was another example of rhetoric that could encourage anti-Asian sentiment in general in the U.S. Summer Meza