Washington, DC – In federal court in El Paso this week, the white nationalist who killed 23 people at a Walmart in August 2019 is scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison. As the Texas Tribune details, the shooter:
“…uploaded to the internet a document written by him titled ‘The Inconvenient Truth,’ in which he explained why he committed the shooting: ‘This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by the invasion.’
Before and after the mass shooting in El Paso, some Texas politicians have described the growing number of migrants arriving at the Texas-Mexico border — many of them asylum-seekers fleeing violence and harsh poverty in Central and South America — as an ‘invasion.’ The ‘ethnic replacement’ [shooter] wrote in the documents comes from a debunked conspiracy theory that people of color and immigrants are looking to replace white Americans.”
Unfortunately, these debunked white nationalist conspiracies are being mainstreamed by Republicans in Texas and across the nation with more frequency in the subsequent years – despite the proven dangers of such hate.
The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice, who grew up in El Paso:
“The mass-killing of two dozen people, simply because they looked like me or members of my family, by a white nationalist in a city I know and love will forever be one of my hometown’s darkest days. Yet my anger and sadness isn’t limited to the shooter. Unfortunately, instead of generating a real reckoning about their roles in mainstreaming hateful conspiracies and lies, Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz, among many other Republicans here in Texas and across the nation, haven’t learned any lessons. Despite the proven real world dangers, they’ve escalated their use of the ‘invasion’ and ‘replacement’ conspiracies in the last four years, seemingly not caring that this rhetoric comes with a body count. I’d encourage Republicans who continue using this language to visit the El Paso memorial instead of continuing to court violence.”
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“Violent language that encourages and cultivates the climate for violence cannot be ignored. When hateful rhetoric comes from political leaders, it is a danger to democracy and people’s lives. We’ve had to issue a disturbing volume of similar statements and reflections commemorating trial developments and anniversaries of horrific acts of white nationalist hate connected to the ‘invasion’ and ‘replacement’ rhetoric. But, as Republicans continue to mainstream false and dangerous conspiracies, these observations remain as prescient and urgent as ever. Simultaneous to the sentencing of the El Paso shooter, we’ve seen— this week— Ron DeSantis issue fundraising appeals and paid ads and additional ads from national Republican organizations all focused on the ‘invasion’ lie.
There’s a cause-and-effect relationship that Republicans refuse to acknowledge between their rhetoric and unhinged actions by those who listen. Even outside the white nationalist conspiracy space, witness how Donald Trump shared Barack Obama’s home address on social media and then an unhinged man tied to the January 6 riot showed up with weapons soon after. We need a real reckoning with the ways calls to violence have been mainstreamed and platformed by right wing media and Republican elected officials as the families in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and elsewhere can unfortunately attest.”
Of note, ongoing tracking work at America’s Voice has found more than 550 examples of elected Republicans and campaigns that amplified the “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy theory in just a little over one year since the white nationalist murder of 10 in a Buffalo supermarket, as well as more than two dozen examples from House GOP congressional hearings this year.
Per the references above, see:
- See the Ron DeSantis Facebook ad with a graphic image “stop the invasion … no excuses DeSantis will get the job done”
- Read about a new DeSantis fundraising appeal using “invasion” language and see AV Political Director Zachary Mueller’s tweet and related analysis
- Note the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) has a new Facebook ad blowing a dog-whistle aligned with the “replacement” conspiracy theory claiming that “millions are pouring across our border” and the “radical left is opening our borders and letting non-citizens vote.”
- Read a recent Mario Carrillo op-ed in El Paso Matters: “Our family is in danger in Texas. But we’re not leaving”
- Read David Badish in New Civil Rights Movement, “DeSantis Using Same White Nationalist Rhetoric as El Paso Mass Shooter Who Slaughtered 23 in Anti-Hispanic Hate Crime”
- Read Greg Sargent’s recent Washington Post column “DeSantis’s ugly descent into ‘invasion’ hysteria can’t go unanswered”