Washington, DC – On May 9, we noted that Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), shared an image across his Twitter accounts all but explicitly calling for white nationalist violence. This week we learned from the reporting of Hunter Walker at Talking Points Memo that those images may have been crafted by active white supremacists Rep. Gosar hired. Walker’s reporting found that Rep. Gosar’s Digital Director and a staff intern are active supporters of the infamous white nationalist Nick Fuentes.
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told TPM: “Mr. Gosar owes his constituents and all Americans an apology for allowing this kind of hate to seethe from his office, and the staff member in question should no longer work for Congress,”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), co-chair of the Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus, have also called for a full investigation into the reports.
The effects of having active white supremacists on staff and in charge of the Congressman’s social media accounts have an impact, as in the image from earlier in the month that read “America is under a planned and sustained invasion – we must act accordingly.”
As Dr. Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said: “When migrants are described as invaders, that leads to violence. Because how else does one stop an invasion?”
And as Amy Spitalnick, the incoming CEO of Jewish Council for Public Affairs, testified in a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday:
“[When] elected officials, pundits, candidates, others who have normalized and mainstreamed the white supremacist views like the Great Replacement theory, talking about things like an invasion … when something like that gets a home on prime time news, gets espoused by elected officials and candidates, what that does is then give license to the violent extremists like those who marched on Charlottesville or shot up the synagogue in Pittsburgh or, the Walmart in El Paso or the supermarket in Buffalo who in their manifestos use that very same great replacement theory to justify the murder of Jewish people, black people, immigrants, and so many others.”
But this is far from the first time hate and threats of violence have come from Rep. Gosar’s office, and after this latest revelation, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has remained silent again. But as recently as 2019, then GOP Minority Leader McCarthy removed then Rep. Steve King (R-IA) from his committee assignments because of his use of white nationalist language, with McCarthy saying at the time, “That is not the party of Lincoln and it’s definitely not American.” Now, it appears the hiring of white supremacists and courting racist political violence don’t rise to the level of the Speaker’s concern, especially when he needs every vote to keep his job.
Speaker McCarthy is not alone in his silence, obviously. The stain of Rep. Gosar rubs off on battleground Republicans like David Valadao (CA-22), Marc Molinaro (NY-19 ), or Gosar’s fellow Arizonan, Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06).
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director at America’s Voice:
“White supremacy must not be allowed to find safe harbor in halls of Congress, let alone a paycheck funded by the American taxpayers. Rep. Gosar’s actions are abhorrent but frankly come with little surprise. Until the Republican party deals with its white nationalist problem, with Gosar only being the most acute example, every one of their candidates and officials are tarred with the stain of intolerance, racism, and the political violence it has already inspired. The issue here is not legitimate policy disagreements, but a vile ideology that is being allowed to fester and given a political and governmental seal of approval. The Congressional Black Caucus and other Members of Congress are absolutely right to call it out and demand action and the silence of Gosar’s allies in his party are damning.