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Tipsheet

DCCC Refuses to Condemn Candidate for Racist, Sexist Remarks on Rep. Steel: 'You Kind of Need an Interpreter'

Facebook, California Democratic Party

The DCCC appears to be sticking by Jay Chen, who hurled racial and sexist insults at Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA), whom he is challenging in the November midterm elections. As Houston Keene and Cameron Cawthorne reported for Fox News, Chen was speaking at an April 7 meet and greet in the Congregation B’nai Tzedek synagogue.

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"Yeah, so she just had another town hall the other day. And, umm, it's tough. Like, we’ve transcribed it," Chen said at the synagogue. "You kind of need an interpreter to figure out exactly what she’s saying," he added, causing the crowd to laugh along. "The more she speaks, the better for us." 

Rep. Steel, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress. English is her third language, behind Korean and Japanese. Chen's own campaign website notes that he is the "child of immigrants from Taiwan." He himself was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

This is hardly the first time that Chen has made derogatory remarks towards Rep. Steel, though. Keene and Cawthorne also cited comments the candidate made during a Zoom call last month, as Chen called her "incoherent" and claimed that "all she does is rely on Republican talking points fed by her husband."  

According to National Review Online's Isaac Schorr, the DCCC did not condemn Chen's comments and instead called out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). 

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In fact, the DCCC spokesperson did not address the remarks at all, but focused on condemning Steel's record:

Mandy Mundy, a spokeswoman for the DCCC, declined to express regret over Chen’s comments in a statement delivered to National Review.

“This is just more gaslighting and deception from the man 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. Steel says one thing at home and does another in Washington, which is why Orange County voters can’t trust her,” said Mundy.

An event that was scheduled for Sunday afternoon--which is Easter Sunday--in Brea, California, was listed by Activate America, with the California Democratic Party in partnership with Tri Counties Democratic Club and the DCCC. It no longer appears to be taking place though. Townhall has reached out to the California Democratic Party asking if there is a reason why the event is listed as "no longer available."

The California Democratic Party's Facebook page does have a post from April 12, which "celebrated the opening of [Chen's] Orange County office with the community." That post too highlighted how Chen is "a son of immigrants."

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The DCCC has not spoken to condemn Chen's remarks, nor has it removed him from their "Red to Blue" list, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called on them to do in a statement to Fox News:

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California called on the House Democrats' national campaign arm to pull Chen from their "Red to Blue" program "in light of his racist attack" on Steel.

"The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee need to immediately disavow and remove Jay Chen from their "Red to Blue" program in light of his racist attack on Rep. Michelle Steel," McCarthy said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Thursday. "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."

"Michelle Steel is an inspiration to first-generation Americans and I look forward to serving with her in the People’s House for many years to come," the top House Republican continued.

A spokesperson for Rep. Steel also called Chen's remarks racist, and cited further concerns with the candidate, in that he supports Confucius Institutes in the United States:

A Steel campaign spokesperson condemned Chen’s comments as "racist" and called on the Democrat to apologize.

"America is a country built on immigrants," the spokesperson said. "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."

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The spokesperson also pointed to a Washington Free Beacon report detailing that, in 2010, Chen led the charge as a member of the Hacienda La Puente school board to bring the Confucius Classroom program to the school district. 

According to the report, the Confucius Classroom program is bankrolled and operated by the Chinese Ministry of Education and has ties to the collegiate Confucius Institute program.

The State Department designated the Confucius Institute program in 2020 as a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda arm designed to advance "Beijing's global propaganda and malign influence campaign."

Additionally, CCP officials have recognized the Confucius Institute programs as "an important part of China's overseas propaganda setup."

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While the DCCC has failed to take action, they've previously called on their Republican counterparts to take action. Last May, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), who was then the chairwoman of the DCCC, issued a statement condemning remarks by Ted Howze, who ran in 2020 against Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA). He lost that race. 

"Bigotry has no place in society — let alone the U.S. House of Representatives," Bustos' statement began with. 

Last November, in response to remarks from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), the DCCC also tweeted that "Racism has no place in the halls of Congress. Full stop."

Such selective condemnation doesn't sound much like "Full stop." 

"If Democrats meant it when they said, ‘Racism has no place in the halls of Congress,’ they’ll immediately disavow Jay Chen," offered Cally Perkins, press secretary for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC which works to elect Republicans. 

Rep. Steel won in 2020 with 51.1 percent of the vote, to Democratic incumbent Harley Rouda's 48.9 percent. 

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