January 20, 2019

Shocker: The House GOP Caucus Still Has a White Supremacy Problem

By Melissa Ryan

“Have I been leader for years?”

GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, when asked why the caucus has only taken action against Rep. Steve King, a well known white supremacist, now.

I had to laugh when I read McCarthy’s quote. His attempt to suggest that Paul Ryan might have put up with these kinds of shenanigans but there was a new sheriff in town was comical. Mostly because it was almost guaranteed that another member of the House GOP caucus would get press for doing or saying something racist before the week’s end.

Readers, the GOP did not disappoint. Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Andy Harris (R-MD) were caught by reporters meeting with right-wing troll and Holocaust denier Chuck C. Johnson on Wednesday.

Via The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer:

In statements, Poe and Harris confirmed they had met with Johnson to discuss genetic testing and DNA, but claimed they weren’t aware of Johnson’s controversial history. The meeting came on the same day the House held off on a vote to censure Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for comments defending white supremacists.

Harris said in a statement that he was “unaware of [Johnson’s] previous associations.”

“Of course I disavow and condemn white supremacy and anti-Semitism,” the statement reads.

Johnson used his meeting with the congressmen to push for “increasing the number of sequenced genomes for research,” according to a statement provided by a Roe staffer.

I’m not sure which is more disingenuous, Kevin McCarthy’s new sheriff in town routine or Reps. Poe and Harris pretending they didn’t know Chuck C. Johnson’s background and vile views on DNA and race. More than two years into the era of Trump and I’m still adjusting to the level of political theater that now comes from Washington DC on a daily basis. And that’s before we even consider the political theater that was Congress choosing not to censure Steve King but instead pass a resolution condemning white supremacy and white nationalism. How big of a joke was it? King actually voted for it! Meanwhile Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) was the only representative to vote against it for not going far enough.

King was removed from all of his committee assignments, the kind of punishment that would normally cause a Congressman to resign in shame, but as longtime readers know Steve King has no shame. This will seriously hamper King’s ability to represent his constituents. Given that he nearly lost his reelection in 2018 I expect him to retire before 2020 or face an equally strong challenger.

CARD has covered the GOP’s white supremacy pretty extensively. Leader McCarthy might want to shove it back under the rug, but given just how integrated white supremacists are with the Republican party and how much press coverage there’s been that’s pretty much impossible. The Republicans are the party of Trump but beyond that, they’re the party of Trump’s base. The obvious headaches that come along with that will stick to them for years to come.

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© Photo courtesy of Flickr, patrick thibodeau


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