California Dem congressional candidate mocks GOP Rep’s accent: ‘You kind of need an interpreter’

A California Democratic congressional candidate’s reported demeaning remarks about his Republican incumbent opponent like “you kind of need an interpreter” to understand her, proved telling as to what progressive politicians really think about women and immigrants after offering defense instead of an apology.

Jay Chen, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, business owner and liberal activist, has seen fit to attack Rep. Michelle Steel over who she is rather than what she believes. Steel, who is a first-term congresswoman, was elected to represent California’s 48th District but has been redistricted into what is believed to be the more Democrat-friendly 45th District.

She also happens to have been born in Seoul, South Korea.

While speaking at an April 7 event at the Congregation B’nai Tzedek synagogue in Fountain Valley, CA, Chen addressed Steel’s heavy Korean accent head-on.

“We…yeah, so she just had another town hall the other day. And, umm, it’s tough,” Chen said. “Like, we’ve transcribed it. You kind of need an interpreter to figure out exactly what she’s saying.”

“The more she speaks,” he added, “the better for us.”

After receiving backlash for his remark, Chen’s campaign released a statement to Fox News Digital where he played the victim, explaining his own background as a child of Taiwanese immigrants and that his father “would never get the promotion” he deserved because he was Asian.

“It’s disgusting the Michelle Steel and Kevin McCarthy are slinging false and hateful attacks to distract from their own lies,” Chen’s campaign countered. “Steel opposed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and then lied to her constituents, touting the very investments she voted against. She claims she is tough on China, but voted against legislation that will empower America to compete on the global stage. Again and again, Michelle Steel gets caught in a web of her own hypocrisy because she works for McCarthy, not for us.”

Chen brought up House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his statement calling out Democrats for not reprimanding Chen, saying, “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) need to immediately disavow and remove Jay Chen from their ‘Red to Blue’ program in light of his racist attack on Rep. Michelle Steel. Disgraceful remarks like those uttered by Jay Chen have no place in our nation’s political discourse and the DCCC must act unless they approve of these racist remarks.”

What’s worse is this was not the first time Chen had made such belittling comments.

During a Zoom call in March, Chen referred to Steel as “incoherent” and alleged she was incapable of thinking for herself, instead relying on talking points from her husband, Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee Executive Committee member.

That reality did not stop the DCCC from stepping in to defend Chen. National Review reported on a statement from Mandy Mundy, a DCCC spokeswoman who said, “This is just more gaslighting and deception from [McCarthy] who has handed over the keys to his caucus to white supremacists and advocates of racist replacement theory.”

“Michelle Steel needs to explain to Orange County families why she says she wants to lower health care costs yet voted against capping insulin at $35, and why she says she wants to create American jobs but voted against a job-creating bill that will help us out-compete China,” Mundy went on. “Steel says one thing at home and does another in Washington, which is why Orange County voters can’t trust her.”

A spokesperson for Steel told Fox News, “America is a country built on immigrants. Michelle Steel is a first-generation Korean American who speaks English as her third language, and these despicable, racist comments from Jay Chen have absolutely no place in our community. Chen owes everyone an explanation, particularly following recent reports he continues backing the Chinese Communist Party’s Confucius Institutes in our educational system.”

Confucius Institutes have cropped up in schools all around the United States and demand direct control over materials taught by the Chinese Communist Party. For her part, Steel has not resorted to in-kind attacks and, instead, posted her hope that this can be a teachable moment.

“My accent is my story,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am hopeful that people will see Mr. Chen’s comments and have a better understanding of what so many immigrants experience regularly. We can learn from this. We can do better, and we must.”


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