The Board of the Asian American Action Fund Condemns Racist Ad From Steel Campaign

AAPI Candidates Continue to Face Xenophobia on the Campaign Trail


Contact: Asian American Action Fund Media Team (

October 25, 2022,  WASHINGTON, DC – The Board of the Asian American Action Fund (AAAFund) condemns the racist ad released by Michelle Steel’s campaign for California’s 45th Congressional District. Attacks like these clearly draw from the same xenophobic Republican rhetoric that fueled the rise in anti-Asian violence during the height of the pandemic. Not content with the mailing, several weeks ago, of a flier that used a doctored photograph worthy of the airbrushed photos in Soviet Russia and Communist China, the Steel campaign has now released an ad that stages a phony scene that totally misrepresents Chen’s views and record. Yet again, she reveals the depths of the GOP’s extremism.

Lt. Commander Jay Chen is unquestionably a stellar candidate for Congress and patriot who served our country as an Officer in the United States Navy. Michelle Steel insults Asian Americans and veterans across the country by questioning Lt. Commander Chen’s loyalty and resorting to such desperate tactics in attempt to smear her opponent. We hope that the residents of Steel’s district see through this turn towards deepening xenophobia and away from good-faith debate on the issues that affect their community.

However, these attacks do not just harm Lt. Commander Chen. When candidates like Steel blatantly lie to stay in power, they put the entire AAPI community in harm’s way and work to undermine the foundations of democracy. Leaning into these xenophobic stereotypes casts a shadow on all AAPIs, particularly those of us who are immigrants, and suggests that we are all spies and lackeys of the Chinese Communist Party.

“Michelle Steel has not hesitated to put members of her own community in danger for political gain. We reject the use of these racist tactics against any candidate of Asian descent. Our community and California’s 45th District deserve better,” said Gautam Dutta, Chair of AAAFund-California Chapter.


The AAAFund is devoted to supporting progressive candidates who will represent Asian American Pacific Islander communities. For the past 20 years, AAAFund has endorsed and advocated for more than 200 progressive AAPIs and Democratic candidates serving AAPI communities for office at every level of government.

Unless clearly identified as statements of the AAA-Fund, the views, opinions, analyses, and assumptions expressed in each blog or clearinghouse post are those of the author or contributor alone, and not those of the AAA-Fund.