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GOP Threatens Public Safety with Push for DHS Secretary Impeachment Based on White Nationalist Conspiracy Theories

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Over the last year, several Republicans have been clamoring to impeach the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, as the next act in their nativist political theater. Devoid of substance, their production of impeachment is but the latest in an escalating set of performances to engage their base. While a dead-end in the Senate controlled by Democrats, House Republicans reinvigorated their calls for impeachment after their lackluster performance in the midterms guaranteed their efforts would be just for show. If House Republicans move forward with an endless set of hearings or impeachment, their charade will not just be a massive waste of tax dollars and distraction from Republicans’ failure to govern but a dangerous normalization of a conspiracy theory drenched in white nationalism and anti-Semitism that they will employ as a critical accusation. A conspiracy theory that has inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks over the last few years and claimed the lives of dozens of Americans. 

As early as August 2021, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) filed articles of impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas with 32 co-sponsors. In mid-November 2022, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee signaled their prospective hearings, sending a letter to DHS requesting documents. Then just weeks after the midterms in November 2022, Kevin McCarthy staged a press conference at the border, all but promising to pursue impeachment hearings of Secretary Mayorkas. On January 9, 2023, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX)  filed new articles of impeachment as soon as the new House was sworn in, and as of this writing, has 32 co-sponsors, demonstrating the GOP-controlled House is much more interested in show trials than in legislating real solutions. The new Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Mark Green (TN-05) outlined in his first statement announcing his new role wrote, “ending the border crisis Biden created is our top priority, … make no mistake, we will hold President Joe Biden and Secretary Mayorkas accountable for their complete dereliction of duty in failing to respond to this crisis.”  

For the Republicans demanding impeachment proceedings, the Secretary’s role is a myopic one, singularly focused on the response to migration to the United States’ southern border. Crafting a deeply distorted, apocalyptic narrative about the migrants seeking asylum and the security of the United States, Republicans look to scapegoat migrants for all the challenges the nation faces and, in turn, accuse Secretary Mayorkas of not following the law by allowing even a single migrant the ability to claim asylum. Republicans dismiss that many of those seeking asylum are forced to leave their home countries by violence, oppression, or dictatorship.. The nativist narrative Republicans have been spinning about the border is divorced from factual reality, leaving them grasping at straws for accusations of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and reliant on conspiracy theories steeped in white nationalism. 

Congressmen Chip Roy (TX-21), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), and Brian Babin (TX-36) have been the lead instigators, but many other Republicans and former top DHS officials under the Trump administration have been vocal about the push as well. Among a number of flimsy allegations, they falsely claim Secretary Mayorkas has implemented “open borders,” which they falsely assert is the cause for the spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths. Echoing the white nationalist conspiracy theory, they argue that the migrants seeking safety and security at the southern border constitute a literal invasion of the United States – an invasion that they claim is being deliberately organized by “the Left,” Democrats and Secretary Mayorkas.

These Republicans are invoking the anti-Semitic white nationalist Great Replacement Theory –  an old lie dressed up in new rhetoric that falsely asserts that immigration represents a civilizational threat to which a cabal of Jews, or Democrats, or elites, are facilitating an invasion of inherently pliable third-world (non-white) migrants to usurp democracy by replacing the power of “real” or white voters with fraudulent non-white voters thereby making democracy an ‘I win or you cheated’ proposition. Now it is the main thrust to impeach Mayorkas, the first immigrant DHS Secretary and the son of Holocaust survivors. And by invoking this false conspiracy theory from their positions in power in Congress, they increase the very real threat of white nationalist and anti-Semitic violence, of which top law enforcement officials have been warning is a top concern. 

To put it plainly, at a time when violent white nationalists motivated by false conspiracy theories pose the greatest threat of terrorism to the United States, Republicans are targeting one of the government officials most directly responsible for keeping the nation safe from domestic terrorism, motivated largely by the same white nationalist falsehoods. 

Nearly 150 years ago, in 1876, was the one and only time a Cabinet secretary has ever been impeached, and while the Republicans’ push for this nearly unprecedented action is largely a farce, it is a dangerous one. The Republicans will perform their parts well, seriously presenting their unserious arguments and legitimizing deadly and anti-democratic conspiracies. It is worth examining their script and the leading cast members to expose it for the dangerous political distraction that it is.       

The Lies and Allegations 

Over the last year and a half, Republicans have released a handful of different documents outlining their arguments for impeaching Secretary Mayorkas, all of which rely on the GOP’s distorted and nativist narrative about the border. While their arguments are disingenuous, flimsy, or just flat-out not true, it is worth debunking the main threads of their arguments to reveal the charade of the GOP’s current threat of hearings and investigations. 

Open borders 

 

Their main overarching argument concerns the number of people seeking asylum at the southern border, which they describe in apocalyptic terms accusing Democrats’ alleged “open border” policies as the culprit of migrants seeking safety in the United States. As hard-right activist and former Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan and hard-right activist and former acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan characteristically write in their November 2022 piece calling for impeachment proceedings, “Mayorkas has sparked a historic border crisis and sacrificed our national security at the altar of the Left’s open-borders agenda.” They write:

“The charges against Mayorkas are serious. Most egregiously, he has conspired with open-borders advocates inside and outside the Biden administration to implement an unlawful agenda that has provoked a predictable, devastating crisis. This was no accident.”

Rep. Chip Roy’s (R-TX) 13-page memo from October 2021 on the topic asserts that Secretary Mayorkas main goal is “establishing a wide-open border to issue legal status to as many illegal migrants as possible.”

While the number of people fleeing desperate situations looking to claim asylum in the United States has risen, it is not because of any alleged “open border” policies implemented by Secretary Mayorkas. The border is not, in fact, open, nor does the White House support any such policies. No matter how many times the GOP repeats this attack line will not make it true. A PolitiFact fact check from early September 2022 makes it abundantly clear: 

“Some people enter the country undetected — that’s happened under multiple administrations, including Biden’s and Trump’s. But that’s not because of “open border” policies; that would negate the work done by Border Patrol agents and the billions of dollars that have been invested over decades to track movements at the southwest border.”  

In fact, over the last 30 years, the Border Patrol budget has increased tenfold and the number of agents has increased fivefold. The Biden administration is continuing that pattern requesting $97 billion for DHS in FY 2023, which includes billions of dollars for border security and interior immigration enforcement. 

In his 13-page memo, Rep. Roy cites the hate group Center for Immigration Studies to allege that CBP is terrible at its job and only apprehends 30 percent of those who attempt an unauthorized crossing. But the reliable data from DHS shows it is significantly harder to cross the border without detection and apprehension today than it was just a decade ago. DHS estimates that FY 2012 was the first time the Border Patrol apprehended most people crossing the border, while CBP reports that in FY 2021, Border Patrol agents “reache[d] a detection site in a timely manner” 96.9% of the time, the highest rate recorded to date. Roy cites the hate group’s report to force Secretary Mayorkas to prove a negative. Roy, like many other Republicans, claims the real threat is from all the alleged unknowns, even as the reliable data points to the opposite conclusion, that the level of control over undetected unauthorized entry is the highest it has ever been. But Roy and others invite others to speculate that there must be a lot of people getting through. Though an active imagination is not solid ground for impeachment. 

Not only do they argue for hearings because of all the alleged migrants that go undetected but also because of all the migrants who are apprehended. Often Republicans illogically point to the statistic of encounters as “evidence” of “open borders” and grounds for impeachment. A January op-ed co-authored by Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX) and Rep. Chip Roy warned that “[n]early every month since Mayorkas took office, border encounters have increased.” Homan and Morgan’s piece warned of “more than 4 million apprehensions—more than the previous four fiscal years combined. The encounters since last October have totaled more than 2.7 million.” On the one hand, these numbers show a workforce doing its job, namely, apprehending people trying to enter. On the other hand, Republicans are intentionally misleading about what the size of these numbers means. A comprehensive study by the American Immigration Council found that more than 1 in 3 encounters in FY2021 were from individuals who tried crossing the border multiple times. Furthermore, these repeated attempts that wildly inflate the numbers of encounters and apprehensions and put a strain on resources are a direct result of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy (a public health provision applied to asylum seekers that allows federal officials to expel them quickly rather than formally removing them). Yet Republicans accuse ​​Secretary Mayorkas of failing to implement Title 42 as part of their “evidence” for impeachment.

Amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, Stephen Miller commandeered a section of the U.S. health law, specifically Section 262 of U.S. Code Title 42, as a means to expel migrants without the ability for them to make an asylum claim. Now, Roy and Republicans are alleging that Secretary Mayorkas “refused to enforce Title 42.” Not only is this untrue, Biggs’ impeachment articles also show how asinine this line of attack is, he writes: 

Secretary Mayorkas has refused to faithfully implement this order, as evidenced by the increasing number of aliens processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection under title 8, United States Code, instead of expelled pursuant to sections 362 and 365 of the Public Health Service Act (commonly known as ‘‘title 42’’)

Biggs’ argument here is that Secretary Mayorkas deserves to be impeached because he expelled more migrants under the much broader and harsher statute of Title 8 rather than expelling them under the more narrow Title 42 statute. Even setting aside any hypocrisy around Biggs, Roy, and the overall GOP pandemic denialism and anti-safety protocols, Title 42 still remains in place. And at the beginning of 2023, the Biden administration announced an expansion of the program of expulsions under Title 8 alongside a limited cap for migrants to apply for an exception for parole into the United States while they make their asylum claim.

 Title 42 is also a terrible policy for a whole host of reasons, including that it is not even an immigration statute. Critically for its effects in this context, it imposes no penalties on those apprehended and expelled, making repeated attempts to cross inevitable. Because of the lack of penalties, it is understandable why those fleeing for their lives and who likely have made a harrowing trek to the United States border would repeatedly attempt to enter and make their asylum claim. The significantly inflated numbers of encounters and apprehensions at the border that Republicans cite as cause for impeachment hearings is a direct result of Title 42. 

Beyond those apprehended and expelled, they accuse Secretary Mayorkas of “rapidly increasing the pace of ‘catch and release’ into the interior.” They borrow this pejorative for paroling asylum seekers into the United States to await the next step in the asylum process after passing the initial “credible fear” screening from sport fishing. Biggs claims Secretary Mayorkas is “releasing hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into the interior of the United States.” Biggs is categorically wrong, the asylum seekers are legally entering the United States. In a blatantly contradictory part of his memo, Roy writes: “In many cases, illegal migrants are being released into the interior upon claiming ‘credible fear,’ the first step in the asylum process.” For Biggs, Roy, and the Republicans pushing impeachment, their accusation is not about following the current laws of the land but their staunch opposition to the idea of asylum.

Furthermore, Biggs makes the false assertion that “over 80 percent of these released illegal aliens are failing to report.” In fact, the exact opposite is true: 83% of non-detained immigrants show up for all of their hearings in what is often a multi-year process, while 96% of those with legal representation do. 

Ultimately, these Republicans are claiming that even one unauthorized entry may be grounds for impeachment. They cite Secretary Mayorkas’ alleged failure to comply with the “Secure the Fence Act of 2006” to make this argument. As Biggs writes, the Act compels the Secretary to take all actions “necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States” and specifically adds the “prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States.” This is clearly an unachievable test when taken at purely face value, one that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf under the Trump administration or any prior Secretary would have woefully failed to meet. 

Rep. Fallon’s impeachment articles and others have also claimed that Secretary Mayorkas “willfully provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to Congress” by asserting that the border was secure and under “operational control” as they interpret its meaning in the Secure the Fence Act.

Fentanyl

 

Over the last two years, the GOP has been crafting a false narrative that the alleged “open borders” policies of the Biden administration and the increase of migrants seeking safety along the southern border is the source of the increase in synthetic fentanyl and the staggering number of overdose deaths. While fentanyl is an urgent multifaceted problem of which the law enforcement side is squarely in the Department’s wheelhouse, it is not an immigration-related issue. 

But, Republicans pushing impeachment are solely focused on an association between the fact that synthetic fentanyl is largely an import and a large number of migrants have been seeking asylum at the border no matter how spurious the connection. Biggs demonstrates this association, writing Secretary Mayorkas’ “actions have directly led to an increase in illegal aliens and illegal narcotics, including deadly fentanyl, entering the United States.” In reality, these are unrelated issues.

Fentanyl that is entering the U.S. is trafficked through ports of entry by sophisticated criminal organizations, largely smuggled by U.S. citizens, not by the migrants seeking a better life. Ninety percent of all drugs are brought in through ports of entry in commercial vehicles and passenger cars, not in the backpacks of migrants crossing on foot and looking to present themselves to Border Patrol agents in order to apply for asylum. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that “the most common method” of smuggling fentanyl into the country is “through U.S. [ports of entry] in passenger vehicles with concealed compartments or commingled with legitimate goods on tractor-trailers.” Moreover, the evidence points to the fact that almost all of the fentanyl smuggled into the U.S. is done by U.S. citizens and paid for by U.S. citizens, who are the ultimate consumers. The organizations that traffic in hard drugs do not risk their product on desperate people facing steep odds and a dangerous crossing who are seeking out U.S. authorities to whom they can surrender themselves while asking for asylum. 

This problem also did not start with the Biden administration. The exponential spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths began in 2015, and continued to its tragic exponential growth throughout the Trump administration. To combat this, the Biden administration has stepped up enforcement and fentanyl seizures have increased. Republicans have, however, made the ridiculous assertion that this increase in interdiction of fentanyl at the border as evidence of DHS not doing its job and therefore as grounds for impeachment. Rep. Roy and Rep. Cloud’s impeachment op-ed is indicative of this argument. They write: 

“Since Secretary Mayorkas has been in charge at DHS, almost 14,000 pounds of fentanyl have been seized by federal agents at the southern border – for comparison, in combined years FY19 and FY20 roughly 7,600 pounds were seized.”

In this line of argument, Republicans get the facts purposefully wrong, as CNN’s political fact checker, Daniel Dale, noted

“Republicans also keep citing the large quantities of fentanyl being seized at the border, but fentanyl being seized is more proof the border is not actually open … The image Republicans are trying to create is a migrant sneaking through the desert with a sack of drugs, that happens in some tiny percentage of cases, but it is certainly not the predominant story.”

Invasion 

 

In addition to the disingenuous nativist attacks, Republicans have embraced a false white nationalist conspiracy theory to call for Secretary Mayorkas’ impeachment. They claim that the migrants seeking asylum and safety in the United States constitute a literal military-style “invasion.” This language of “invasion” is inexorably tied to the Great Replacement Theory, which helped inspire the terrorist attacks in Charlottesville in 2017, Pittsburgh in 2018, El Paso in 2019, the Capitol attack in 2021, and Buffalo in 2022. 

And Republicans are not using this language poetically or as hyperbole, but as hard Constitutional fact. In an op-ed published on Fox News laying out their case for impeachment, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) write: 

“Secretary Mayorkas has unquestionably violated his oath of office. He has intentionally invited millions to cross into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, violating Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, which requires the federal government to “protect each of [the states] against invasion.”

This notion of a so-called invasion of migrants is as absurd as it is dangerous but Republicans have made it central to their impeachment charade. 

Border Wall and Other Accusations 

 

Republicans have also made a few more arguments in a weak attempt to give more of a patina of seriousness to their theater.

Both Biggs and Roy asserted that the termination of border wall construction was grounds for impeachment. They ahistorically claim that congress appropriated money for the construction of Trump’s wall, and Secretary Mayorkas refused to follow through on the project. In reality, President Trump declared a national emergency in February 2019, employing the white nationalist “invasion” conspiracy to redirect congressionally appropriated money from the Pentagon after congress refused to appropriate the money Trump wanted for his wall. On day one of the Biden administration, Biden issued an executive order terminating the national emergency declaration and halted further wall construction for review of the appropriated funds. In concurrence with the executive order, the Department of Defence announced a plan to restore $2.2 billion of the funding that Trump had removed under his national emergency scheme. 

In September 2021, former senior advisor and white nationalist Stephen Miller absurdly argued that granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians was an impeachable offense. TPS has nearly a three-decades-long precedent of providing relief to foreign nationals already inside the United States from deportation if their home country suffers a dangerous and destabilizing event. It has been a tool used by both Democratic and Republican Presidents. Haiti had just seen a presidential assignation and back-to-back devastating natural disasters. In other words, the move was more standard practices and procedures than high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Rep. Fallon’s impeachment articles that he leaked at the being of this year additionally asserted Secretary Mayorkas “knowingly slandered his own hardworking Border Patrol agents” around viral images that many found deeply disturbing as an agent on horseback roughly pulls the shirt of a man on the ground in Del Rio, Texas, in 2021. As “evidence,” Fallon cherry-picks a White House press conference with Secretary Mayorkas from September 24, 2021, in the days following the circulation of the photos. The full context of Secretary Mayorkas’ response includes a defense of DHS personnel and the need for a further investigation while addressing those concerned about the photo: 

“…we — our entire nation — saw horrifying images that do not reflect who we are, who we aspire to be, or the integrity and values of our truly heroic personnel in the Department of Homeland Security.

The investigation into what occurred has not yet concluded. We know that those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism.” 

Furthermore, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which is representing the man depicted in the photo, raises serious concerns about the final CBP report on the incident in question. 

In other words, the Secretary’s reaction to photos of an incident many across the nation found deeply disturbing – and still do – does not rise to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor for which he or anyone else should stand for impeachment. 

Again, while the sum total of the Republicans’ impeachment arguments are farcical taken individually or collectively, they will still be pursuing their agenda against the Secretary and invoking all of the falsehoods and conspiracies they can and spreading this misinformation in service of their political objectives.

The Instigators 

Employing various versions of the same weak and nativist arguments, many top Republican voices have called for the impeachment theatrics, including the white nationalist Stephen Miller and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. However, hard-right Congressmen Chip Roy (TX-21), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), and Brian Babin (TX-36) have been the main instigators. They have been beating the drum for impeachment with Great Replacement Theory rhetoric for months and will undoubtedly be vocal and key members around any hearings. 

Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21): Representing a sprawling district in southeast Texas along the Gulf of Mexico from south of Austin down to the north of Corpus Cristi, Roy is the former chief of staff to Ted Cruz and was first elected to Congress in 2018. Throughout the 2022 midterms, Roy was a vocal promoter of the “invasion” rhetoric. Just days after the terror attack in Buffalo, New York, where the mass murderer cited the replacement and invasion conspiracy as his motivation, Roy signed a letter with 30 of his Republican colleagues echoing the same “invasion” language. They argued that states should be allowed to use military force against migrants. Roy also argued against restrictions on assault weapons citing their alleged explicit need for citizens who live along the border. Roy started pushing the impeachment line on October 17, 2021, and started the hashtag “#ImpeachMayorkas” shortly after. 

Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05): Representing a relatively compact district southwest of Phoenix, Andy Biggs was first elected to the solidly red district in 2016 following the retirement of Rep. Matt Salmon. Co-Chairman of the House Border Security Caucus, Biggs is a hard-right Congressman with connections to the Oath Keepers and was a key part of the planning around the rally on January 6 that preceded the deadly assault on the U.S. Capital. Biggs was the first to file impeachment articles against Secretary Mayorkas as early as August 2021 and has continued to play a leading role in the political theater. He staged a press conference on December 9, 2022, as part of a quixotic push for the Speaker’s gavel to push for a Secretary Mayorkas impeachment, including the deadly white nationalist “invasion” conspiracy. Biggs has also been one of the loudest voices amplifying the invasion and replacement theory, even releasing a movie titled “Alien Invasion” to advance the deadly fiction. 

Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36): Brian Babin is Rep. Biggs’ fellow Co-Chairman, House Border Security Caucus, representing the district from east of Houston to Louisiana. First elected in 2014, Babin has been pushing the great replacement theory into the mainstream for the last year in a half. In September 2021, Babin claimed on FOX and Friends: “We know what the grand strategy of the Democrat Party is – they want to change America …  they want to replace the American electorate with third-world immigrants.” Babin’s argument for impeachment was also centered on the deadly “invasion” conspiracy. Co-hosting the press conference on December 9, 2022, to push for impeachment, Babin has been vocally confident about the desire of the Republican caucus to move forward with an impeachment investigation. Babin also co-authored a letter in April 2022 signed by 133 of his Republican colleagues, including leadership, that laid out the groundwork for what they hoped would lead to impeachment.  

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-20): Shortly after it was clear that Republicans would have an extremely slim majority in the House, and with an eye on the speaker’s gavel, McCarthy staged a press conference at the border calling on Secretary Mayorkas to resign. “House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure will determine whether we can begin an impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy said. A telling promise in the lead-up to a historically difficult election to win the Speaker’s gavel with leading opposition coming from Rep. Biggs and Rep. Roy, who have also been relentless about impeachment hearings. Speaker McCarthy will play a large role in whether or not hearings actually move forward or stall out, but so far he has a proven track record of joining in or acquiescing to the demands of the hard-right nativist forces in the party. 

The Predecessors 

The men in leadership in DHS and several of its agencies under the Trump administration are vocally pushing for impeachment and the white nationalist invasion and replacement conspiracy. 

Chad Wolf was the acting DHS Secretary for a year before resigning from the office on January 11, 2021, after multiple courts ruled he was unlawfully in the position and invalidated all of his orders as lacking legal authority. After leaving the position, Wolf still trades on this former position despite his lack of legal authority on the job as a hard-right commentator. By early August 2021, Wolf was on Fox News calling for Secretary Mayorkas’ removal  from office.  The following August, Wolf was dismissive of the severity of the threat from white nationalism, claiming the misleading fentanyl narrative should take precedence. Telling a Washington Times podcast:

“But when you have 100,000 or so overdose deaths, the vast majority of that — I’d say 90% of that — is coming across the southern border, why wouldn’t you say that’s what we need to focus our resources on?”

Later in the show, Wolf advanced a version of the replacement theory claiming the Biden administration was intentionally facilitating migration for political advantage. Wolf has also pushed the invasion conspiracy and repeatedly defended invasion declarations. 

Tom Homan was acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from January 2017 to June  2018 and the progenitor of the family separation policy. After Homan left the Trump administration, he became a leading hard-right activist working with hate groups.      Homan has also been one of the most vocal promoters of the deadly “invasion” conspiracy as well as for the impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas.  

Mark Morgan, like Homan, became a hard-right commentator associated with hate groups after the Trump administration. Like the others, Morgan was not confirmed by the Senate and spent his year and a half as the acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from July 2019 to January 2021. After leaving CBP, Morgan joined the hate group the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), as Senior Fellow. Morgan has repeatedly amplified and defended the deadly “invasion” conspiracy and has been a loud voice calling for Secretary Mayorkas’ impeachment. 

Meanwhile, Michael Chertoff,  DHS secretary in the Bush administration, said it would be a “very sad day” if Republicans were to go forward with the impeachment hearings and called the move a “political stunt.” Jeh Johnson, a DHS Secretary who served during the Obama administration, said of the effort, “We can’t have a secretary who’s distracted by a stunt in Congress in an attempt at impeachment,” 

The Real Threat

Many of the Republicans’ arguments for impeachment are rooted in nativist politics and are  disingenuous at best. However, the embrace of the replacement and invasion conspiracy presents a real danger to public safety across the nation. Beyond being untrue, the Great Replacement Theory and “invasion” rhetoric have demonstrated a connection to mass political violence. Republicans’ further amplification of the conspiracy is a form of stochastic terrorism — when public figures court seemingly random acts of political violence through coded language, dog whistles or dehumanizing language. 

The tragic irony here should expose the real danger: Republicans are threatening the DHS Secretary with impeachment with the very ideas motivating a leading terrorist threat currently facing the nation. 

The Republican House can and should choose to abandon this performance.