tags: Press Releases

Why is Kevin McCarthy Treating Paul Gosar’s Use of White Nationalist Rhetoric Different from Steve King’s?

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Washington, DC – Observers are highlighting and denouncing how House Republicans like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) are spending the early days of the GOP majority by mainstreaming dangerous white nationalist conspiracies.

An Arizona Republic story by Tara Kavaler,Rep. Paul Gosar accused of using white nationalist rhetoric at committee hearing,” highlights how Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar elevated “invasion” and “replacement” white nationalist conspiracies at last week’s House Oversight committee hearing (and long before):

“Zachary Mueller, political director at America’s Voice, a liberal group that advocates for immigration reform, said the words Gosar uses about an invasion and a changing culture are dangerous because it has been used by extremists who have carried out deadly attacks, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, the Buffalo shooter and the El Paso Walmart shooter who pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

‘It’s clear to anybody it’s absurd that somehow migrants and asylum seekers represent a literal invasion. We … only have to look to Ukraine and see the Russian invasion there to understand what a real invasion looks like,’ Mueller told The Arizona Republic. ‘How do you stop an invasion besides with violence? And so I think it’s really important that we understand that rhetoric is tied to this white nationalist conspiracy theory, but that also leads to downstream serious violent consequences when some individual takes it upon themselves to fulfill and believes in that conspiracy.’”

Washington Post opinion columnist Dana Milbank also highlights Rep. Gosar and House Republicans’ dangerous white nationalism and border-related falsehoods, assessing of last Tuesday’s hearing: “Republicans saw red after the Democrats’ mention of white nationalism — ‘offensive’ and ‘inflammatory’ was the view of Rep. Glenn Grothman (Wis.) — but then proceeded to validate the accusation.” Milbank writes:

“Rep. Paul Gosar just won’t stop saluting those white nationalists. The Arizona Republican has dined with them, traveled with them, spoken at their conferences, defended them on social media and promoted their racist themes. He lost his committee assignments in 2021 when he posted a cartoon video of himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a Latina.

But House Republican leaders, in their wisdom, restored Gosar’s committee status, giving him a seat on the House Oversight Committee. And Gosar this week repaid their confidence in him — by using one of the very first hearings of the committee to promote white nationalism.

At a hearing Tuesday on border security, Gosar declared that President Biden has “a plan … to deliberately open our borders and cede power to the cartels,” and thereby create chaos. “What is the answer to this mess for Biden and the Democrats?” he asked. “More big brother? More control? Even changing our culture?” That is the very definition of the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory: that the left is deliberately importing immigrants to replace White people and White culture.”

The open embrace and defense of white nationalist rhetoric by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and other House Republicans spouting these conspiracies – and these Members’ positions of prominence on House Republican committees and in leadership – is in contrast to just a few years ago. Recall that in 2019, then-Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy removed former Rep. Steve King (R-IA) from his House committee assignments because of King’s use of white nationalist language. As the New York Times reported, Rep. McCarthy said:

“‘This is not the first time we’ve heard these comments,’ Mr. McCarthy said of Mr. King, an acknowledgment of the racist language the congressman has used before. ‘That is not the party of Lincoln and it’s definitely not American.’”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Once upon a time, way back in 2019, a House Republican leader named Kevin McCarthy responded to the white nationalist sentiments of former Rep. Steve King by removing him from committee assignments and highlighting how such language was un-American and damaging to the GOP and the nation. 

Now, just three years later and despite continued violence and attacks directly tied to white nationalist conspiracies, Kevin McCarthy and the rest of the GOP leadership seem just fine as Paul Gosar and a host of his fellow House Republicans define the party by its white nationalist extremism and its mainstreaming and embrace of dangerous ‘invasion’ and ‘replacement’ conspiracies. 

As the GOP gears up for a potential impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas and continues its relentless focus on border-related political attacks and lies, Kevin McCarthy and other House Republicans should be asked if Paul Gosar represents the ‘party of Lincoln’ more than Steve King did?”