Kevin McCarthy kicked off his tenure as House Speaker by stocking the chamber’s committees with bigots, conspiracy theorists, and election deniers. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, who both have a history of cavorting with white supremacists, were part of the new appointments — despite having been previously removed from their committee assignments for suggesting violent action be taken against Democratic lawmakers.
Gosar didn’t waste any time reminding Americans what the Republican Party represents, pushing the idea that President Joe Biden may be trying to flood the United States with “illegal aliens” as part of a deliberate effort to change the makeup of the nation.
“What is the answer to this mess for Biden and the Democrats?” Gosar asked during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the border on Tuesday. “More Big Brother? More control? Even changing our culture?”
Greene was there, too, wondering whether children coming across the border are MS-13 gang members. “I am unaware of any significant amount of MS-13 gang members within the unaccompanied children population,” replied Jeff Modlin, a chief patrol agent for Customs and Border Protection.
Gosar’s gripe is a version of the “great replacement” theory, a white supremacist conspiracy holding that white people in the United States are being systematically replaced by minorities. The theory has, in various forms, become popular across conservative media and within the Republican caucus in recent years. Tucker Carlson of Fox News is certainly no stranger to it. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the third-ranking Republican in the House, pushed it last May. “Democrats desperately want wide open borders and mass amnesty for illegals allowing them to vote,” she wrote on Twitter. “Like the vast majority of Americans, Republicans want to secure our borders and protect election integrity.”
Stefanik’s comments came two days after a white supremacist killed 10 people at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. The shooter made clear in a 180-page manifesto that he was an adherent of the “great replacement” theory.
The “great replacement” is not a fringe theory among Republicans, and McCarthy’s decision to elevate people like Gosar — who has a history of rubbing elbows with white supremacists like Nick Fuentes, as does Greene — and give them an opportunity to speak in committee hearings on immigration is only bringing the vile conspiracy theory closer to the core of the party’s platform.