Who is Maura Moynihan? NY ex-senator Daniel Moynihan's daughter asks Asian-American couple to 'go back to China'
Maura Moynihan admitted she was the woman captured on camera having a heated exchange with 31-year-old Daniel Lee at First Avenue and East 22nd Street on March 14
It has now been revealed that a woman accused of telling an Asian American couple in Manhattan to "go back to China" was the daughter of late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Speaking to WABC, Maura Moynihan admitted she was the woman captured on camera having a heated exchange with 31-year-old Daniel Lee at First Avenue and East 22nd Street on Sunday, March 14.
Lee's wife, Maria Ha, 25, told the news station that things went awry when Moynihan randomly told her to “go back to China.” "I kind of felt someone looking at me," Ha told WABC, so she began "staring back." She added, "And then I realized she was looking at me. Then she came closer and closer, staring at my eyes." She said the woman eventually got in her face, nose to nose, without provocation.
"'You're not from here,'" she quoted Moynihan as saying. "'You're from China, aren't you? Go back to China, (expletive)' is what she said." Scared, she ran home to get her husband to the scene. When they returned, Moynihan was reportedly getting into a cab.
"Oh hell no, there have been way too many of these incidents," Lee told WABC. "So I just like opened the door, and I'm like, 'Did you say that? Did you say that?' She just started yelling, 'Oh, you're assaulting me, you're assaulting me.' So I'm like, OK, I'm going to get this on video."
Moynihan was seen on video that Lee recorded from outside her cab, but she repeatedly claimed he was "assaulting" her.
“She said go back to f—king china,” Lee is heard saying in the clip. “Say that racist s—t again. You said Communist China?”
“Well isn’t that where you’re from,” Moynihan responded.
The couple was leaving the scene shortly after, but while crossing the street, they reportedly saw Moynihan open the cab window and again yell, "Go back to Communist China!” Police are currently investigating the incident, while Moynihan has denied to WABC that she made racist remarks against the couple.
“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. “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 added.
However, Moynihan did not deny using racist expletives when confronted by the victim's husband. "Just because she's done all these things in the past does not justify what she said," Lee told WABC. Moynihan said she would be happy to meet with the couple and explain herself.
"What she said wasn't an apology. We don't accept the behavior at all, so I don't wanna meet her," Ha told WABC. "Why would I meet her?"
"This is extremely hurtful. Like for me personally, I was born in the U.S. my entire life and to be told to leave this country, to go back to Communist China is seriously offensive," Lee explained. "I was born here, this is my home," he added.