McConnell condemns Buffalo shooting: ‘Racism of any sort is abhorrent’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned racism as “abhorrent” and called the shooter who left 10 people dead in a Buffalo supermarket a “completely deranged young man.”
McConnell didn’t comment in detail on replacement theory, the baseless conspiracy theory the shooter espoused, which many say has been fueled by the right.
Instead, McConnell laid the blame on the mental state of Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old shooter arrested for the killings, while condemning racism generally.
“This horrible episode in Buffalo is the result of a completely deranged young man who ought to suffer the severest possible penalty under the law,” he told reporters when asked whether he felt any responsibility as GOP leader to speak out on replacement theory.
When asked about President Biden’s call earlier in the day for Americans to reject replacement theory, McConnell replied, “Racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans.”
A McConnell aide later said the GOP leader’s condemnation of racism covered replacement theory.
Pressed on whether he thought Democrats are trying to give themselves a political advantage by creating a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants, something that Fox News host Tucker Carlson has talked about, McConnell said he’s worried about what he sees as the need to take stronger measures to secure 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.
“It’s something that could be done by the administration itself in the absence of any additional legislation, and keeping Title 42 in place would be a good first step,” he said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order blocking immigrants from entering the country on asylum claims due to public health concerns.
The administration has announced it will let Title 42 expire on May 23.
McConnell delivered his remarks after Biden called on Americans to “reject the lie” of racial replacement and denounced White supremacy as “poison.”
“A hate that, through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated and lost individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced. That’s the word. Replaced by the other. By people who don’t look like them,” Biden said in Buffalo after meeting with the families of the victims.
“I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit,” Biden said.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday praised Biden’s remarks and called on all elected officials to condemn replacement theory.
He said the shooter’s “racist, white supremacist views belong to an extreme ideology that’s increasingly finding home in the American mainstream. In Buffalo, the president was right to strongly condemn these views,” he said. “All elected officials should do the same.”
Schumer noted on the floor that Fox’s Carlson has mentioned replacement theory on 400 different episodes of his show, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
“It is dangerous and un-American for one of the biggest news networks in the world to amplify conspiracy theories that are eerily similar to those cited by the Buffalo shooter,” he said.
He sent a letter to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corporation, urging him “to immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called ‘Great Replacement’ theory on your network’s broadcasts.”
Updated: 5:50 p.m.