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Representative Elise Stefanik echoed the racist theory allegedly embraced by the Buffalo suspect
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Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, and other GOP lawmakers came under scrutiny Sunday for previously echoing the racist “big guy” theory. replacement” that apparently inspired an 18-year-old who allegedly killed 10 people while targeting black people in a Buffalo supermarket.

The baseless conspiracy theory claims that politicians are trying to eliminate white Americans and their influence by replacing them with non-white immigrants. The theory was cited several times by 18-year-old shooting suspect Payton Gendron in an online document that appeared to describe his intention to carry out his planned attack in Buffalo due to its large black population.

Eleven of the 13 people shot dead at Tops Friendly Market on Saturday were black, police said.

Although Stefanik did not push the theory by name, she and other conservatives echoed tenets of far-right ideology as part of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that inflamed the Republican base before the midterm elections.

It marks a rapid transformation for Stefanik, who has sought to align himself firmly with former President Donald Trump and his nativist “Make America Great Again” agenda over the past year after replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo .) At the GOP conference. chair. Cheney was expelled for criticizing Trump’s role in spreading lies about his election defeat and for stoking the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

In response to Saturday’s shooting, Stefanik tweeted that the United States “is heartbroken by the tragic news of the horrific death in Buffalo.” We mourn the whole community and our loved ones,” she wrote before thanking law enforcement for dealing with “skyrocketing violent crimes.”

But Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who is no stranger to speaking out against his pro-Trump colleagues, asked his supporters in a Tweeter if they knew “@EliseStefanik pushes white replacement theory?”

“@GOPLeader should be asked about this,” he said, referring to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). His office did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Kinzinger was referring to a series of Facebook ads posted in September 2021 by Stefanik’s campaign committee that accused Democrats of allowing undocumented immigrants into the United States as a ploy to outnumber, and ultimately silence. , Republican voters.

“Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive action yet: A PERMANENT VICTORY UPRISING,” read one of the ads, which shows a reflection of the migrants in the sunglasses Biden is wearing. “Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”

Rep. Stefanik says in ads that Democrats seek ‘permanent election insurrection’ by offering pathways to citizenship

It’s a similar argument frequently made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, leading the Anti-Defamation League to repeatedly call for his firing since April 2021 after he appeared to endorse the concept during one of his segments.

In a scathing op-ed responding to the “despicable” ads, Stefanik’s hometown newspaper, the Times Union of Albany, wrote that the New York representative “isn’t brazen enough to use the slogans themselves; instead, she layers the hate in scaremongering anti-immigrant rhetoric that has become standard fare in Donald Trump’s party.

In response, Stefanik said Republicans support “legal immigration while Democrats support amnesty for illegals”.

“Equating opposition to illegal immigration with Nazism and white supremacy is a desperate attempt to stoke outrage and avoid covering up Joe Biden’s border crisis,” she wrote in a post. on Facebook.

In a statement released Sunday in response to posts resurfacing in light of the Buffalo massacre, Stefanik’s senior adviser Alex deGrasse said, “Any involvement or attempt to blame the congresswoman for the heinous shooting in Buffalo is a new disgusting low for the left, their Never Trump. allies and the sycophant stenographers of the media. The shooting was an evil act and the criminal should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. »

He added: “Despite the disgust and misinformation, [the] The congresswoman has never taken a racist position or made a racist statement.

Other Republicans in Congress have pushed the theory in more explicit terms. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the current chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told a subcommittee hearing examining migration from Central America last year that many Americans think “we’re replacing native-born Americans – native-born.” Americans – to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.

After the ADL again called for Carlson’s firing in September, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) came to his defense, saying in a Tweeter the Fox News host “is CORRECT about the replacement theory because he explains what’s going on in America.”

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from December found that one in three American adults believed there was “an effort to replace American citizens with immigrants for electoral gains.” More Republicans believed in probability than Democrats, 36% versus 27%.

Rep. Brian Higgins (DN.Y.), who represents the Buffalo area, called on leaders to speak out against the theory and acknowledge the dangers that accompany its rhetoric.

“The Great Replacement theory is racist nonsense that cynical politicians have used to foment division in America. What really needs to be replaced in this country is ignorance and hatred, which fuel division, perpetuate lies and kill our neighbours,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “The amplification of racism in any form is sick and un-American and everyone – especially those who call themselves leaders – must speak out against this.”

McCarthy and other Republican leaders have remained largely silent on the replacement rhetoric adopted by some of their colleagues, hoping to stay focused on the economy and other issues they say will help them retake the House and Senate in november.

This dynamic also explains Stefanik’s transformation.

Republicans last year sought to oust Cheney from leadership for his repeated criticism of Trump after the Jan. 6 uprising, saying they viewed the issue as a distraction and said Cheney should have focused on the maintaining GOP conference unity ahead of the midterms.

Stefanik was seen as a favorite to replace Cheney, but faced significant pushback from colleagues who questioned whether she could represent the pro-Trump conference given her past as a pro-business, anti-tax Republican of the same fabric as the mentor Paul. D. Ryan (R-Wis.), former Speaker of the House.

His immigration record was also questioned ahead of his rise to leadership. A number of anti-immigration groups criticized his March 2021 vote for the Farm Labor Licensing Act, for example, which would give legal status to undocumented farm workers in the United States.

From Paul Ryan sidekick to Trump follower: Stefanik sets out to replace Cheney as GOP leader

Stefanik has since followed trends in his party and district, which was once a Democratic stronghold but swung for Trump by double-digit margins in 2016 and 2020.

She quickly won Trump’s support after defending him during his impeachment trial and has since peddled his lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Just last week, Stefanik amplified QAnon’s prominent pedophile-obsessed conspiratorial language by alleging that the Biden administration has no plan to address the current formula shortage, calling Democrats “pedo scammers”.

She and several members of Congress, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have also spent the past week spreading lies that the Biden administration was prioritizing sending formula to migrant babies at the border rather than feed children born in the United States.

“Your #EliseStarvefanik plan is to starve the babies. You have no excuse, so now you’re just going wild,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) said. mentioned in response to Stefanik’s “scammers” tweet. “Going after babies for political purposes is so low and trashy.”


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