Oversight committee Republicans won’t sign Democrats’ letter denouncing white supremacy

Democratic members on the House Oversight Committee asked their Republican colleagues to sign a two-sentence statement that plainly rejects white supremacy, white nationalism, and a far-right conspiracy theory that suggests politicians are intentionally seeking to displace white Americans by loosening immigration.

All 26 Republicans on the GOP-led committee have signalled that they will not sign the statement, which a committee spokesperson characterised in a statement to The Independent as a distraction.

An accompanying letter from by the committee’s top Democrat, US Rep Jamie Raskin, argued that “dangerous and conspiratorial rhetoric echoing the racist and nativist tropes peddled by white supremacists and right-wing extremists” was invoked by committee Republicans during recent hearings on immigration policy and the US-Mexico border.

The letter, which was first reported by The Washington Post, does not name specific lawmakers, but it references comments made by GOP members including Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Chip Roy referring to immigration as an “invasion,” and Paul Gosar asking whether Democratic border policy is “changing our culture.”

Congressman Raskin argues that “such language borrows from the ‘Great Replacement’ theory, the central dogma of contemporary white supremacy that has been repeatedly invoked by white nationalists to justify violent acts of domestic terrorism,” including mass murders in El Paso, Texas in 2019, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in Buffalo, New York in 2022.

A spokesperson for Oversight Committee Republicans told The Independent that it is “shameful that Democrats are calling efforts to protect the American people from the worst border crisis in history racist.

“Fiscal Year 2022 set records for apprehensions of illegal immigrants, migrant deaths, terrorist apprehensions, and drugs seized,” the statement continued. “Democrats are trying to distract from [President Joe Biden’s] border crisis and their failure to conduct oversight of it for two years. Americans expect Congress to conduct oversight of the southern border and Republicans are focused on delivering results.”

Republican US Rep Byron Donalds said in a separate statement to The Independent that he does not intend to sign what he called an “unproductive” letter from Mr Raskin, “whose sole focus is showboating and ignoring Biden’s open border policies,” he added.

“While Democrats focus on theories, my Republican colleagues and I will work on common-sense approaches to securing the border,” he added. “I wish my Democrat colleagues spent more time working with us on this goal than wasting time on letters to rally their open borders activist base.”

The letter is a second attempt to put House Republicans on record denouncing the so-called Great Replacement theory in the aftermath of the killing of 10 Black people by an admitted white supremacist at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York last year.

Mr Raskin noted in his letter that he was giving committee chair James Comer “another opportunity to take a public stand against the deliberate amplification of dangerous racist rhetoric that has had deadly consequences in this country.”

The theory has also been amplified across right-wing media, with highly watched Fox News personality Tucker Carlson invoking the idea in more than 400 episodes since 2016.

Last year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote a letter to Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman and chief executive Lachlan Murdoch, Fox News chief executive Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace demanding that the network “cease and desist” its amplification of the theory.

“If Committee Republicans intend to continue examining the southern border and related policies, it is imperative for every member of this Committee to make clear to the American people that we speak with one voice to reject dangerous conspiracy theories and racist and antisemitic ideology in our Committee’s deliberations and decision-making,” Mr Raskin wrote. “I feel certain – and I fervently hope – that you agree.”