“It’s Just Stunning”: Republican Leaders Still Refuse to Denounce White Nationalist Conspiracies

June 19th 2020 Buffalo Grove Illinois United States Black Lives Matter March and Rally (Shutterstock)

By America’s Voice

Washington, DC – USA Today published an important story over the weekend: “Republican leaders yet to denounce racist replacement theory repeated by Buffalo shooting suspect.” It highlights that, to date, GOP leaders have refused to denounce the “white replacement” conspiracy theory touted by the Buffalo gunman. In addition, Republican leaders refuse to hold accountable their Republican colleagues who have helped mainstream this white nationalist lie or its related “invasion” counterpart.

In fact, as America’s Voice has detailed, numerous GOP and right wing figures have instead doubled down on these tropes since Buffalo. Republican leaders have stayed silent.

Below, find key excerpts from the Candy Woodall USA Today story, followed by a quote from America’s Voice Political Director Zachary Mueller.

“Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are quick to say racism and white nationalism are wrong, but they won’t denounce a racist conspiracy theory that claims Democrats are trying to replace white voters with voters and immigrants of color. Some Republican candidates and lawmakers who are running for reelection have espoused the same theory shared by the suspect in the Buffalo mass shooting, who said Black people were ‘replacers’ of white Americans. Authorities say he killed 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket because they were Black.

Republicans have accused Democrats of politicizing the mass shooting. Party leaders in Washington, D.C., say they have never supported white nationalism or white supremacist ideology. But none would give a yes-or-no answer when asked multiple times by USA TODAY if they denounce the Great Replacement theory. They also have not called for their colleagues to stop repeating the theory.

…House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., accused Republicans recently of ‘fanning the flames of hatred and embracing a racist conspiracy theory … We’re still waiting for a single House Republican leader to denounce replacement theory.’”

…The top three House Republicans – Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who replaced Cheney as the third-ranking Republican in the House – have not denounced the Great Replacement theory.

…The way Republican leaders are responding – or not responding – is a matter of political expediency, said Kurt Braddock, assistant professor of public communication at American University. ‘By denouncing racism generally without specifically mentioning the Great Replacement, the Republicans are able to be on both sides of the argument,’ he said. ‘They can seem morally aligned with an obvious evil by denouncing racism, but by not specifically denouncing the Great Replacement narrative, they can stay consistent with the one-third of Republican voters who believe it … Unfortunately, without explicitly criticizing or condemning Great Replacement-related disinformation,’ Braddock said, ‘they fuel the false notion that it’s true, which itself is a key foundation of hate and violence.’”

The following is a statement from Zachary Mueller, America’s Voice Political Director:

“It’s just stunning: Republican leaders still refuse to denounce white nationalist conspiracy theories. Instead, we get deafening silence that equates to complicity. A healthy political party in a functioning democracy would be capable of honest reflection and able to hold members accountable for jeopardizing public safety by intentionally spreading racist lies that have been used to justify mass killings. But the Republican Party is falling woefully short of even this basic test, endangering our fragile democracy in the process.

The Republican leadership is either cowering in fear or doubling down to its base. When it comes to their own voters embracing white supremacy, invasion and replacement theory, Republican politicians would rather scratch the itch than heal the rash.

Why? The GOP prioritizes its raw quest for political power over all else – including the health of our democracy, the wishes of the majority, and the basic safety of its citizens. This is a conscious choice on their part and they will not deviate or denounce the racist lies that fuel their anti-democratic project until they face real political costs.”

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