So Far, Only 27% of House Republicans Have Condemned White Supremacists
Update (Aug 16, 2017–10:30 AM):
This catalogues the House Republican response on Charlottesville events prior to Donald Trump’s controversial 3rd public statement on August 15th. We deem any condemnation of, or legislative action against, white supremacists that occur after this 3rd press conference to be both welcome and tragically belated.
Boy, we ran into this one. After we tweeted about the silence from “most of the #GOP” on white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA, a tweeter with an opposing view accused us of “making sh*t up.” We challenged said tweeter to produce 151 statements from all Republican Congresspersons, which would constitute the majority (of House and Senate) and therefore procure an apology from us. Here’s their reply:
Lazy? Lying? Well sir, we accept your challenge. (Our tweeted reply wasn’t quite as cordial). But being curious, open-minded progressives, we should verify our claims, should we not? And so this pursuit of truth was a worthy exercise in its own right. We’d like to share the results of the study, which took about 6 hours, poring over the twitter accounts of every Republican in the House of Representatives, searching each for a statement on the events of Charlottesville.
Turns out, Congress has really embraced Twitter as a means of communication. That’s nothing new to some, but to see a 90% daily active user base in the House GOP, with our own eyes — and another 4% with slightly less frequent but still very active posting — was impressive.
Given that Twitter is a quick and easy means to release a public statement, the public attention on the terrible events over the weekend, and the condemnation of white supremacists being about the softballiest issue to weigh in on (or so we thought), we deemed the count of condemnation statements on twitter to be a valid measure for this study. After all, Donald Trump himself had made several tweets and two very public statements about the violence by the deadline of the study (8pm Eastern time on August 14, 2017).
Trump got flak for his statements. Many regarded his first statement (the instantly infamous “many sides” argument) as inadequate, ambiguous, and unnecessarily squirmy. So did we. We also regard his second statement as inadequate as well, giving his base cover to “include” “others” and “many sides” in the culpability.
Given the bloody, global history of JUST-fascism, not to mention this country’s 200+ year toil with real-actual white supremacist terrorism, we decided to hold the House GOP to a high standard in our study: no ambiguity, just good, old-fashioned Nazi-bashing.
The conditions of condemnation
Any condemnation of violence that kept the perpetrators general, vague, and all-inclusive, we would count as ambiguous, like this one from Rep. Sean Duffy:
Or this one from Tom Emmer, that looked the same as many others:
Don’t be too hard on us… you see, we don’t think it’s healing or right to include in the condemnation of fascist violence well-known civil rights protest groups like Black Lives Matter, or Code Pink — and less identifiable or made-up groups like “black racists” or “libtards”. When it comes to “antifa”, sometimes, yes, they’re the Nazi-punchers, but they’re often the quiet ones that just show up and stand in the way of a town getting too douchey.
It’s just that…Including these groups as the perpetrators of violence alongside Nazis when Nazis commit violence is a tactic currently being used by both white supremacists and paid conservative pundits to excuse real-actual race-based white supremacist hate crimes by some strange, cynical proxy.
For example, the message that Black Lives Matter is a violent, anarchist movement that does as much violence as the KKK — while its disruptive-but-mostly-peaceful protesters have been the victims of multiple auto mowdowns before this past weekend — bleeds into TV media, and then right into the minds of otherwise pretty non-racisty white people, leading them to go along with laws that seek to protect the auto mowdowners instead of the protesters.
Furthermore, during the collection, we noticed many replies to these general condemnations pointing out their inadequacy, and demanding specifics, like these:
We counted mentions of “white supremacy/supremacists”, “Nazi”, “KKK”, and names of known white supremacists (like “David Duke”) as statements of strong condemnation…
…on the condition that they didn’t muddy the waters by saying “and other groups” or “all/many/both sides”, in the statement, as Rep. Paulson did:
Or this retweet by Rep. Shimkus, who was general in his only other tweet on the matter:
These “weasel” statements — that combine white supremacists with “any” and condemn the solution set — we would count as a special case of ambiguous . They show up as the orange 4% in the graph below. Another example of a weasel statement is a retweet. We counted mute retweets of Paul Ryan’s strong statement as decidedly weasely.
For this study, we needed to read their own words, condemning white supremacists specifically, and in isolation. This is the same standard the public and many Republicans and Democrats are holding each other to, so we thought it fair to give this sample set very little wiggle room in order that they not have their moral, high-ground cake and eat it racistly with the KKK, too.
We’ll work on the metaphors…
And you may ponder, innocently, why just House Republicans? What about the whole House? The whole Senate? Both sides-Guys, guys guys…
We’re not lazy, but we are doing this out of love of country and aren’t getting paid a cent. 6 hours of research and some bang-up graphics is a pretty good freebie to run with and reblog. In the wise words of @TeamAmericaMOFO, do your own research.
More seriously, though the real issue of the day is this: the GOP propped up and bought wholesale a known racist, who has employed known white supremacists in the White House. He has skirted condemnation and shaming the white supremacists who voted for him and now claim to be carrying out his agenda. And as we see, making good on specific condemnations make a difference, as in David Duke’s reply to Donald Trump’s 2nd public statement:
Or his Periscope post (too racist, didn’t watch–consider watching–or link to)
So the House GOP has the burden of proof to tell us where they each stand: unambiguously against white supremacy, or somehow, weirdly and eerily, vaguely ok with it, kinda. Because…
The latter won’t fly anymore. In the words of Tim Wise, we need to be willing to be actively anti-racist now — especially white people — in order to heal the open wound in our American culture. In other words, this is US, unless we prove otherwise: first through clear words, and then through real action. Like it, don’t like it, disagree with it, but collectively we chose a certain path, for better or worse, last November:
So… the study. This is really cool, guys!
There are some unambiguous, Nazi-hating Republicans in the House
It was really refreshing to see some unequivocal statements from House Republicans on this matter — like these:
Tom Cole’s was one of our favorite — worth a clickthru to his full statement:
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had the winner, in our books:
There are others that we counted as strong that could be considered in hindsight as ambiguous or weasely — but we did this piece pretty darn fast, and we want things to get better, so we’ll give this one to Rep. Chris Smith:
While there’s an “and also” kind of feeling to this one, we thought we’d give it to Rep Calvert. I mean, what’s a hateful ideology if not white supremacy? (dudes, that was rhetorical… can’t hear your shouts.)
And our runner up for the most almost-not-counted-as-a-strong-statement is… Tom “picture with the Nazi rally organizer” Garrett, who, in this awkward interview, works in so much axiomatic, MLK-esque wordmash, all the while sweating bullets for his crushed political career and his desire to talk tough to Trump, we had to give him a sympathy “strong”:
Here’s the breakdown of our strong condemnations of white supremacy:
Weak, guys. Only one fifth of you could open your twitpipes for the mother of all political softballs? I mean over 700,000 Americans have died to fight white supremacy in the past 150 years… You’d think this was a no-brainer.
We’ve got some ideas at 321 and in the liberal wing why these numbers are so low. But it’s getting late — we’ll let others pick up that torch.
Damn… we have metaphor issues…
Let’s get to the graphics and wrap this up.
A Lot of Repubs Played Vague
Why so coy, guy? These people got a tweetful from constituents and others for their ambiguous, seemingly-adequate-but-totally-not statements. A sampling:
And our favorite in this category… This guy gets the soooo clooose award. (because in all the dig-downs and links and stuff he never says what it is!)
So here’s the good news, for our beloved instigator, @TeamAmericaMofo…
We’re sorry …
…If you play it by your rules and count the greens and yellows together, you get 61% of the House condemning the hate and violence in Charlottesville. In the spirit of brotherhood and connectedness, we award to you our apology.
But ONLY IF you find this article. Because our bet was that you would prefer to remain blissfully ignorant about the grip white supremacy has on this country, and we’re stacking the deck for that bet. So you’re going to have to sift through all of the above bleeding heart liberal mouth treacle that probably drives you crazy — and just a little bit gay at midnight — to find your precious apology.
Because here’s the bad news:
A Ton of House Republicans Remained Silent
Coming in at 88, the largest group was the… huh…
Well ain’t that a metaphorical bitch.
Okay, it’s technically a silent plurality, but we’ve got a clearly problematic yellow-plus-red majority that can’t put the words “I,” “hate,” and “Nazis” together.
Here are some people’s replies in threads of this group’s weekend tweets that weren’t about Charlottesville:
So in the final summary…
To get that 27%, we took the green ones and threw in the orange ones. It made a nice, accurate headline, and maybe it kept you guessing how we got to that number.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a US map with the geographical distribution of these results? Hoot darn, that would be faaaan-tastic.
Here, do your own research with these lists:
Counted as strong statements
Charles W. Dent
“Earl “”Buddy”” Carter”
Peter J. Roskam
Peter T. King
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Counted as silent
Dennis A. Ross
Frank D. Lucas
Gus M. Bilirakis
Jaime Herrera Beutler
James B. Renacci
James Comer Jr.
“John J. Duncan, Jr.”
Kristi L. Noem
“Louis B. “”Louie”” Gohmert Jr.”
Michael K. Simpson
Raul R. Labrador
Walter B. Jones
Counted as ambiguous statements
Adam Kinzinger, Adrian Smith, Andy Biggs, Ann Wagner, Barry Loudermilk, Bill Flores, Bill Johnson, Bill Shuster, Bradley Byrne,Brian Babin,Brian Fitzpatrick, Bruce Poliquin, Chris Collins, Chris Stewart, Daniel Donovan, Dave Reichert, David G. Valadao, David Kustoff, David Schweikert, David Young, Diane Black, Don Bacon, Evan Jenkins, Frank LoBiondo, Fred Upton, George E.B. Holding, Glenn Grothman, Jack Bergman, Jackie Walorski, Jason Lewis, Jeb Hensarling, Jeff Duncan, Jeffrey Fortenberry, Jim Banks, John Culberson, Kenny Marchant, Kevin Cramer, Lamar Smith, Lee Zeldin, Lou Barletta, Luke Messer, Mark Meadows, Mark Sanford, Matt Gaetz, Michael R. Turner, Mike Bost, Mike Coffman, Mike Gallagher, Mike Kelly, Mo Brooks, Patrick Meehan, Patrick T. McHenry, Pete Olson, Ralph W. Norman, Randy Hultgren, Richard Hudson, Rick Allen, Robert Aderholt, Roger Williams, Scott DesJarlais, Scott Tipton, Steve Womack, Susan Brooks, Ted Budd, Todd Rokita, Tom Emmer, Tom MacArthur, Tom McClintock, Tom Reed, Trey Hollingsworth, Vern Buchanan, Warren Davidson, Will Hurd, Drew Ferguson, Doug Lamborn, Sean Duffy, Steve King
Counted as weasel statements
Erik Paulsen, Jim Jordan, John Shimkus, Michael McCaul, Patrick J. Tiberi, Paul Gosar, Rod Blum, Scott Perry