House

McCarthy: GOP not the party of ‘nativist dog whistles’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Friday that the Republican Party is not the party of “nativist dog whistles” in an apparent response to a new right-wing caucus that explicitly calls for promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

McCarthy issued a tweet that does not explicitly reference the new “America First Caucus” — established by GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — but came hours after its policy platform began leaking to the media.

“America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work. It isn’t built on identity, race, or religion,” McCarthy wrote.

“The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans — not nativist dog whistles,” he added.

The policy platform, which was first reported on by Punchbowl News and obtained by The Hill, states that “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

“History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country,” the document continues.

“As such, America’s legal immigration system should be curtailed to those that can contribute not only economically, but have demonstrated respect for this nation’s culture and rule of law.”

The platform further calls for infrastructure that “reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture.”

It states that public infrastructure “must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom,” specifically citing the example of the ancient Romans.

The platform also calls for ending business closures caused by COVID-19 health measures and restricting access to voting. The position on voting access cites former President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and calls for ending voting by mail, implementing a national voter ID law and investigating allegations of voter fraud.

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking member of House GOP leadership, also appeared to condemn the new caucus on Twitter without specifically naming it.

“Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil. History teaches we all have an obligation to confront & reject such malicious hate,” Cheney wrote.

Both Greene and Gosar have faced criticism in the past for making racist remarks or associating with white nationalists.

Greene made a variety of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic remarks in videos posted to Facebook before she was elected last year. They included falsely suggesting that the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — were illegitimate because they chose to be sworn into office using the Quran instead of the Bible.

Gosar spoke at a conference in February that was organized by a white nationalist who praised the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack.

At least one other Republican closely allied with Trump is expected to join the new caucus. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is under investigation over accusations of sex trafficking and prostitution, said Friday that he would become a member and that the group “will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) also told reporters in the Capitol on Friday that he is considering joining the group. Gohmert said he hadn’t seen the platform’s language invoking Anglo-Saxon dominance over American culture and insisted “it’s not supposed to be about race at all.”

Back in February, Cheney, who has taken heat from the right over her criticism of Trump, said that Republicans need to make clear the party doesn’t associate itself with white supremacy after the Jan. 6 insurrection, where numerous members of the mob carried Confederate flags and other white supremacist symbols.

“And it’s very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy, you certainly saw anti-Semitism, you saw the symbols of Holocaust denial, for example, at the Capitol that day, you saw the Confederate flag being carried through the rotunda,” Cheney said during an interview with the Reagan Institute. “And I think we, as Republicans, in particular, have a duty and an obligation to stand against that, to stand against the insurrection.”

—Updated at 6:12 p.m.

Tags America first Anglo-Saxon Anglo-Saxon Legal Heritage Dog whistle Donald Trump Ilhan Omar Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Louie Gohmert Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Nativism Paul Gosar Rashida Tlaib Right-wing politics

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