House

Pelosi calls on Republicans to denounce ‘great replacement’ theory

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addresses reporters during her weekly press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022.
Greg Nash
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addresses reporters during her weekly press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on her Republican colleagues on Thursday to denounce the “great replacement” theory, which sprung into the national spotlight this week after a gunman who allegedly espoused the racist conspiracy shot 13 people in Buffalo, N.Y., 11 of whom were Black.

Some former President Trump-aligned Republicans have come under fire in the wake of the shooting, which killed 10, for past comments implying that Democrats and other top figures have tried to empower minorities through immigration policy at the expense of white individuals.

Pelosi — speaking at a press conference on the steps of the Capitol alongside members of the congressional Black, Asian and Hispanic caucuses — said violence must be stopped and emphasized the Democratic push for firearm background checks, before asserting that current circumstances are being “compounded by the replacement theory.”

“It’s an extremely alarming and despicable idea and it must be rejected by anyone who claims to embrace our American ideals,” Pelosi said. “It’s spread by social media algorithms where people find people who think the way they do, in an evil way, promoted on top television networks — yes, it is.”

She then turned to her colleagues across the aisle.

“And tragically, as has been mentioned here by leading political figures. Why isn’t everyone in this Congress saying ‘I reject replacement theory?’” Pelosi said, eliciting applause from the Democrats surrounding her.

House GOP leadership rebutted allegations hurled by Democrats that accused their rhetoric of contributing to white supremacy following the Buffalo shooting, regarding them as all politics. Rank-and-file members of the conference also dismissed accusations that leadership was entertaining white nationalism.

But while Democrats have been vocal in their vehement opposition to the right-wing theory, Republicans for the most part have been silent on the topic.

And on Wednesday night, nearly all House Republicans voted against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which leadership brought up in the aftermath of the shooting. President Biden on Tuesday called the deadly attack “domestic terrorism.”

The bill passed in a 222-203 vote, with only one Republican — Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — supporting the measure.

Pelosi, during her weekly press conference earlier on Thursday, commented on the GOP’s opposition to the bill, saying Republicans “don’t even vote for domestic terrorism” prevention.

“Isn’t that sad?” she added.

Pelosi on Thursday, during remarks from the steps of the Capitol, tied the conspiracy to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, saying the riot “had the same racist elements to it and replacement theory background to it.”

“America, open your eyes to this hateful replacement theory that is taking lives and taking a toll on the spirit of democracy in our country,” she later added, after reading a section of the poem “I Have No Other Country” by Israeli poet Ehud Manor.

Tags Nancy Pelosi replacement theory Trump

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