Five months after far-right pundit Candace Owens told Congress that the rise in hate crimes is “fake” and the GOP’s Southern Strategy was “a myth,” Republicans once again invited her to testify before a subcommittee on combating white supremacy. This time around, the conservative provocateur straight-up dismissed the notion that white nationalism is a problem.
Early on in Friday’s hearing before the House Oversight Joint Subcommittee, Owens—who late last year said Adolf Hitler was “OK” before he tried to go global—downplayed the threat of white supremacy in the United States, calling it nothing more than a fringe issue. (Reminder: The El Paso mass shooting was less than two months ago.)
“If we’re going to have a hearing on white supremacy, we are assuming that the biggest victims of that are minority Americans,” Owens stated. “And presumably this hearing would be to stop that and preserve the lives of minority Americans. Which based on the hierarchy of what’s impacting minority Americans, if I had to make a list of 100 things, white nationalism would not make the list.”
Owens, meanwhile, went on to tally off a number of culture war issues that she felt were much more urgent for African-Americans, such as black-on-black crime, abortion, and the left’s so-called war against men and masculinity.
Later on in the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)—who was a late arrival—ceded all of his time to Owens, who had largely been ignored by Democrats throughout the bulk of the proceedings. (Owens was invited to testify at the hearing by Jordan himself.) The former Turning Point USA communications director claimed she was being passed over because she was speaking truth to power that the issues of racism and white supremacy were overblown and being used for political purposes by Democrats.
“I also found it quite hilarious that when asked for actual numbers, nobody here could actually provide them because it’s not actually a problem in America or a major problem that’s facing black America,” she declared.
“White supremacy and white nationalism is not a problem that is harming black America,” Owens added before calling on the African-American community to start “putting fathers back in the home” and demanding a return to “God, religion and shrinking government.”
Reacting to Owens’ remarks, fellow panelist Dr. Kathleen Belew—a professor and historian who has researched the rise of the white power movement—took Owens to task for laughing off the current research into white nationalism.
“I object strenuously to your use of the word hilarious,” Belew noted. “To me, this feels a lot like your reaction to being named in one of these manifestos. Now, you’re of course not responsible for the words of someone writing that document, but I do think laughing at it is a real problem.”
Owens, after being named as an influence in the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto, reacted by tweeting out “LOL,” sparking criticism that she was being insensitive in the wake of a mass shooting that left dozens of Muslims dead.
The conservative commentator insisting that white nationalism isn’t a real problem in America echoes Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s infamous assertion last month that white supremacy is “a hoax,” a claim the right-wing star made just days after a suspected mass shooter deliberately targeted Mexicans.
Furthermore, in a Fox News appearance in June, Owens said that African-Americans were better off under Jim Crow laws and before the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.