Washington, DC – Commentators and observers are highlighting the role and complicity of Republicans and right wing media in advancing white nationalist conspiracies and mainstreaming the same “replacement” and “invasion” rhetoric cited by the Buffalo shooter – as well as earlier perpetrators of white supremacist violence. Far from being chastened, the GOP and right wing figures platforming the ideas are doubling down on their usage while other Republicans are choosing party over country and refusing to condemn their colleagues:
- Houston Chronicle: “Ted Cruz doubles down on ‘invasion’ rhetoric espoused by accused Buffalo shooter”: “US. Sen. Ted Cruz is doubling down on ‘invasion’ rhetoric this week that is similar to that espoused by the man accused of killing 10 people in a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday. The suspected shooter had written that the country is ‘experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history.’ On Tuesday — three days after the shooting that authorities have said was motivated by racist ideology — Cruz tweeted: ‘Over 2 million illegal aliens streamed across the border last year. This is an invasion we’re seeing because Joe Biden refuses to enforce the law!’”
- ABC News, “McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory‘”: “At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked repeatedly about his views of “replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that holds that Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with undocumented immigrants and people of color in order to win elections. He repeatedly avoided denouncing it outright.”
- Adam Serwer column in The Atlantic, “Conservatives Are Defending a Sanitized Version of ‘The Great Replacement’”: “Large sections of the manifesto attributed to the Buffalo shooter were plagiarized from the El Paso shooter’s writings. Both share the premise that violence against nonwhite people is justified to prevent ‘white genocide’ or the ‘replacement’ of white Americans by nonwhite immigrants … In recent years, Fox News has consciously amplified the same line of argument … Liberals can do nothing to prevent conservatives from embracing this conspiracy theory, beyond forcing Republicans to pay a political price at the ballot box. It would be better, by far, if prominent conservatives persuaded their comrades to reject this perverse ideology, rather than attempt to sanitize it for mainstream consumption. If their recent reaction to the Buffalo shooter is any guide, though, they have chosen a different path.”
- Jean Guerrero column in the Los Angeles Times, “White terrorists have ‘Tucker Carlson Syndrome.’ Millions are vulnerable to it”: “The GOP has been deflecting all week. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the killer ‘deranged’ while sidestepping questions about his party’s promotion of his worldview. Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has done more than anyone to mainstream replacement theory, attributed Gendron’s ideology to a ‘diseased mind.’”
- Gabe Ortiz column in Daily Kos: “Ted Cruz echoes Buffalo mass murderer’s invasion rhetoric, then doubles down”: Right-wing media has been essential in amplifying and mainstreaming racist conspiracy theories. In particular, Tucker Carlson has “amplified the idea that Democratic populations and others want to force demographic change through immigration,” The New York Times has reported. “That’s the heart of the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, which is popular among white nationalists and was previously confined to the fringes of U.S. media,” Media Matters continued.
- Eric Wemple column in Washington Post: “Tucker Carlson ducks his own potential link to the Buffalo shooting”: “On his Tuesday night show, Carlson pretended to address the issue at hand. “You’ve heard a lot about the ‘great replacement’ theory recently. It’s everywhere in the last two days, and we’re still not sure exactly what it is,” said Carlson. Uncertainty notwithstanding, Carlson attempted to flip the script, slamming Democrats for having a politically motivated immigration policy. To prove the point, he quoted several Democrats, including Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. He reached back to a 2018 campaign event at which she said: “The blue wave is African American. It’s White, it’s Latino, it’s Asian Pacific Islander.” She also said: “It is made up of those who’ve been told that they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented.” Only on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is a multiracial coalition a sinister thing. Diversity, of course, is a dirty word for Carlson, as he has proclaimed time and again on his show. The Buffalo suspect appears to have agreed with the Fox News host on this point — so much so that his tract veers toward intellectual appropriation.”
The following is a statement from Zachary Mueller, America’s Voice Political Director:
“Republican Party leaders are either running scared from members of their own party who traffic in racist conspiracies, or they are trying to scare the rest of America as they peddle dangerous racist conspiracies in their pursuit of power. From Ted Cruz doubling down on espousing the same ‘invasion’ conspiracy cited by the Buffalo shooter to Mitch McConnell refusing to denounce his fellow Republicans for their role in mainstreaming these dangerous ideas, what’s been on display this week has been both noxious and sadly predictable.
The poison of white supremacy will not dissipate on its own, it must be expelled. Until the leaders in the Republican Party do that, the racist and anti-democratic lies will continue to rot from that poison – to the detriment of our country and our democracy.”