The daughter of a late New York senator has been identified as the woman caught on video last weekend verbally harassing two Asian Americans on the street in New York City.
Maura Moynihan, the daughter of the late Democratic New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, came forward to WABC-TV after the station discovered she was the woman in a viral video going on an anti-China rant against Dan Lee and his wife Maria Ha.
Ha, 25, told WACB the incident began when the senator’s daughter told her to “go back to China.” She then ran back to get her apartment to get her husband. (RELATED: Chinese Official Says American Politicians Promoted Racism And Hatred That Led To Mass Shooting)
EXCLUSIVE: Maura Moynihan, the daughter of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, admitting to us she’s the woman who spewed racist hate. But if you were expecting an apology… H/T @Syissle for leading this @ABC7NY investigation. #StopAsianHateCrimes #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/NbfZRtRJOJ
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) March 18, 2021
Lee, 31, confronted and recorded Moynihan, who was hopping into a cab. From inside the cab, Moynihan can be heard in the recording accusing Lee of “assaulting” her.
“She said go back to f—king China,” Lee said, according to the video posted to Ha’s Instagram account. “Say that racist s—t again. You said Communist China?”
“Well isn’t that where you’re from?” Moynihan said in reply to Lee, the video shows.
Moynihan reached out to WACB to confirm she was the woman from Ha’s viral video once people on social media came forward exposing the late senator’s daughter.
“It had nothing whatsoever to do with any bias or racism or anti-Asian American prejudice, as has been wrongly suggested,” she said in a statement to the station. Moynihan referred to the incident as a “misunderstanding” and denied making any racist remarks.
“I have devoted most of my life to working with and for Asian people, most particularly in the cause of securing basic human rights for the Tibetan people in their continuing struggle against Communist China,” Moynihan continued in the statement.
The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident, a spokesperson for the department told NBC New York.
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan passed away in 2003 after serving 24 years in the Senate.
Late last year, Maura Moynihan attended the unveiling of the new Moynihan Train Hall, named in her father’s honor. The $1.6 billion project transformed the more than 100-year-old James A. Farley Building at Penn Station and officially opened to the public on Jan. 1.
Moynihan’s behavior follows an upward trend of hate crimes against Asian Americans over the past year.
On Tuesday, a gunman opened fire at three Atlanta-area massage parlors, killing eight people, including six Asian women. However, police are still unsure if suspect Robert Aaron Long’s mass killing was racially motivated.