The highest ranking Republican official in U.S. government, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, repeatedly refused to denounce “replacement theory” in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. That puts him in company with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third in command among House Republicans who seems to be an adherent of the white nationalist conspiracy theory.
The slaughter of 10 Black Americans in Buffalo by a white nationalist terrorist and the reaction to that carnage clarifies a whole hell of a lot about the Republican Party of 2022 and the individual members of it. Especially McConnell, who controls half of the Senate and is the one person with the most power to turn the white supremacist GOP ship around. He won’t do it.
Asked repeatedly Tuesday about his responsibility as a party leader to condemn the theory, he refused, dancing around the question instead by calling the shooter a “deranged young man,” refusing to acknowledge the motivation behind the massacre. The most he would do is condemn generic racism. “Look—racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans,” McConnell said.
By the way, Stefanik isn’t trying to redeem herself by denouncing white nationalism either. Instead, she says the Buffalo terrorist attack shouldn’t be politicized. “Our nation is heartbroken and sad and of the horrific loss of life in Buffalo. This was an act of pure evil and the criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Stefanik said. “It is not the time to politicize this tragedy. We mourn together as a nation.”
Back to McConnell. Pressed again on the theory and whether he agreed with Stefanick and Fox’s Tucker Carlson—the theory’s main proponent who has apparently succeeded in making it Republican mainstream thought—that Democrats were purposefully trying to steal elections through immigration, he still wouldn’t answer. Instead he condemned the Biden administration’s policy on the U.S.-Mexico border. “What I’m disturbed about with regard to the Southern border is the relative openness of it. This administration has taken a number of steps in the direction of just throwing our border wide open once again and that ought to be addressed,” he said.
That’s what he’s concerned about. Not the fact that Republican Senate candidates across the country are promoting white nationalism and that he is actively endorsing them and working for their takeover of the Senate. Perhaps it’s because he shares something in common with them?