Rep. Paul Gosar Rallies With Racists While His Republican Party Whines About Dr. Seuss
Fighting on behalf of animated fictional characters has been a successful distraction from the extremists who increasingly dominate the GOP.
Everything you need to know about the morally disgusting state of the modern Republican Party can be found in the deafening silence about Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who just tweeted a bizarre meme showing an apparent streetwalker referencing a white supremacist battle cry. This comes after he recently appeared as the keynote speaker at a literal white nationalist convention also attended by former Rep. Steve King of Iowa, whom the GOP stripped of committee assignments for his own embrace of white nationalism back when it at least pretended that was out of bounds.
You might also remember Gosar as the loathsome politician who said the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where a neo-Nazi and Hitler admirer ran down and murdered anti-racist protester Heather Heyer, was a left-wing plot created by an Obama sympathizer. Gosar, who supports the “white genocide” conspiracy theory, falsely claimed that Jewish American billionaire George Soros had funded the rally. Tapping into the vilest of anti-Semitic tropes, Gosar said of Soros, who survived the Holocaust as a child, “I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis.” His comments were so loathsome that his six siblings actively campaigned against him in 2018 and urged Arizona to vote for the Democrat instead. Gosar is also a supporter of the far-right Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia composed mostly of military veterans and law enforcement officials and whose members were heavily involved in the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol; the leader of the Arizona chapter says that Gosar told him America was already in a civil war, but “we just haven’t started shooting yet.”
None of that has been enough for GOP leadership to rebuke let alone take power away from Gosar. Gosar spoke at a white supremacist conference organized by Nick Fuentes, who once “jokingly” denied the Holocaust and compared Jews killed in concentration camps to cookies burning in an oven. After Gosar’s keynote, Fuentes addressed the crowd and said, “This country wouldn’t exist without white people, and white people are done being bullied,” and he warned about America losing its “white demographic core.”
Fuentes also trolls and bullies other far-right conservatives like Donald Trump Jr., Ben Shapiro, and Charlie Kirk with his white supremacist sect, “Groypers,” attacking them for not being “pro-white” enough in their advocacy and activism. Naturally, Trump shared a Groyper tweet last summer showing a video of a Black man shoving a white woman into a train car in the subway. Fuentes was also a supporter and attendee at the violent insurrection that killed five people at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. His fellow traveler, Gosar, also supported the insurrection, referring to President Biden as an “illegitimate usurper” and promoting the Big Lie of a “coup.” A majority of elected Republicans voted to “cancel” the free and fair 2020 election and many still appear on cable news shows promoting the Big Lie.
A day after their conference, Gosar and Fuentes were pictured together, smiling, having coffee. When asked why he would speak at Fuentes’ conference, Gosar replied, “There is a group of young people that are becoming part of the election and becoming a bigger force... so why not take that energy and listen to what they’ve got to say?”
Despite what he mumbled at CPAC, he doesn’t seem to regret attending the conference and, politically speaking, why would he when his party doesn’t seem to think that a member of Congress standing side by side with racists openly preparing for a race war is a problem?
What does House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have to say about Gosar? Unfortunately, he’s been too busy trying to restore Potato Head’s pronouns, redeem Dr. Seuss’s racist books and rehabilitate Pepe Le Pew’s rapey ways to say anything. Fighting on behalf of animated fictional characters has been a successful distraction from the extremists who increasingly dominate the GOP.
Recently, half the GOP gave a standing ovation to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, another anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist, who said “Jewish space lasers” caused the California wildfires and has promoted Holocaust deniers in the past. Greene has been removed from her committees, but only because Democrats voted to oust her while many Republicans shamelessly defended her. Other Republicans in good standing with their party include Rep. Matt Gaetz, who invited a Holocaust denier to be his guest at the State of the Union and met up with the “Groyper Army” at the annual CPAC conference, where he took a photo with one of its leaders, an outspoken neo-Nazi. The GOP has also embraced Rep. Mary Miller, who told a rally crowd the day before the insurrection that “Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future” and whose husband’s pickup truck, with a prominent Three Percenter militia decal, was spotted in the capital during the insurrection.
None of them have been condemned by McCarthy or House leadership, or really by anyone else with standing in the party with one exception:
“I think the organization [Gosar] spoke to is one of that has expressed views that are clearly racist,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, the number three Republican in the House. ”This is not the kind of an organization or an event that other members of Congress should be participating in.”
Cheney, of course, was condemned by her own state party for voting to impeach Trump with Gaetz flying to her state to lead a rally against her. Leadership hardly bothered standing with her after her vote against Trump, while she’s being attacked by other Republicans for saying what should be a matter of the most basic common sense and decency.
It’s springtime for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the GOP, framing Jews as an elite cabal of nefarious powerbrokers using immigrants, media, wealth, and people of color to weaken “Western civilization.” This is the foundational conspiracy behind QAnon, a domestic terror threat which has been described as a rebranded “Nazi cult” by Gregory Stanton, who has studied and worked to prevent genocide for 40 years. QAnon is now mainstreamed and endorsed by GOP elected officials, Fox news, and conservative pundits to rationalize everything from Trump’s election loss to the Capitol Hill takeover to Hilary Clinton’s entire existence to international sex trafficking crimes.
“While Rep. Gosar has since attempted to distance himself from Fuentes, his non-credible excuse, along with the GOP-at large’s silence, is extremely troubling,” Anti Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told me. “Now more than ever, we need leaders to hold each other accountable and call out instances of hate and bigotry without hesitation. Anything short of that only further emboldens those who seek to divide and destroy the very fabric of society.”
Republican silence about Gosar and the others can only mean tacit endorsement and complicity. They can either condemn this hatred and madness, or they own it.