GOP Rejects White Supremacy, But Worries About Rhetoric

House Republicans deny claims of nurturing white nationalism in the wake of Saturday’s racist supermarket massacre in Buffalo, N.Y. 

Disquiet with aggressive and radical rhetoric has been an undertone in the House GOP conference throughout the Trump years.

Still, even lawmakers critical of their most vociferous colleagues think their leadership fuels white supremacy.

White Supremacy

Their comments were taken as implicit criticisms of specific colleagues, but not of the conference. 

Following Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) tweet accusing GOP leadership of aiding white nationalism and white supremacy, Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R) expressed confusion. 

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), a centrist who advocated trying to impeach former President Trump and is retiring, likewise pushed back on claims that Republicans embrace white supremacy.

However, he also expressed displeasure with some of his colleagues’ comments. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined Cheney in accusing GOP leadership of racism. 

The claims followed a shooting in Buffalo, where a gunman allegedly espousing the racist “great replacement theory” shot 13 people and killed 10. 11 victims were black. 

The absurd conspiracy theory claims white Americans are being deliberately overwhelmed by minorities. 

Democrats, along with media and political watchers, have linked conservative pundits and confident GOP lawmakers to the idea, alleging various words and messages bolster the theory. 

Republican leaders deny aiding white supremacy, saying concerns about noncitizen voting restrictions are reasonable and not racist. 

They also refer to earlier suggestions that amnesty may assist Democrats.

Cue a 2013 study from the Institute for American Progress, claiming undocumented immigrants need a path to citizenship to preserve electoral power. 

Crenshaw and Upton are not alone in protecting their authority from Cheney, who was demoted as the No. 3 GOP leader for criticizing Trump. 


Both sides have racist extremists, but most aren’t. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) advised candor. The meeting is also divided by some rhetoric. 

Bacon cited a tweet from House GOP Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), who replaced Cheney, calling critics of GOP messaging on the baby formula crisis “pedo grifters.” 

Stefanik’s office said the term referred to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, whose founder sent unsolicited sexual communications to young men. 

Other Allegations

This week, Democrats hammered Stefanik’s messaging, claiming they are trying to “overthrow our current electorate” through amnesty and enabling noncitizens to vote.

They say Stefanik’s commercial reflected replacement theory. Stefanik’s office dismissed the claim. 

After the Buffalo shooting, some GOP senators skirted Cheney’s allegations of white supremacy or GOP immigration rhetoric. 

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) said she hadn’t read about the “great replacement theory” and Stefanik’s charges. When asked about the allegations, Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) shook his head. 

Some members join the leadership, though. 

Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-N.J.), who changed parties during the Trump administration, stated it isn’t factual.

At a press conference Tuesday launching a PAC to promote Hispanic GOP congressional candidates, Republicans praised Stefanik, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has also been criticized for promoting the replacement theory, and his opinions affect the GOP conference. 

Even Carlson’s GOP detractors, like Crenshaw, deny he’s to blame for the Buffalo bloodshed. 

“Like, I loathe Tucker Carlson. I dislike him. He didn’t cause this,” Crenshaw said, referring to Carlson as “eyepatch McCain” earlier this week.

“He’s a gross person. That doesn’t mean he caused it. A genuinely insane person caused this.”

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