Suddenly unnerved, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy absurdly responded over the weekend to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's and other MAGA-loyal House members' proposed "America First Caucus," by tweeting, "The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans—not nativist dog whistles."
What planet has he been living on?
Tea Pain don’t remember ol’ Abe’s party formin’ a “white nationalist caucus” or paradin’ a Confederate flag through… https://t.co/T4aL0Ac0yw— Tea Pain (@Tea Pain)1618620881.0
This is the same Kevin McCarthy who crawled back to Mar-a-Lago to bow to the Insurrectionist-in-Chief, the former president who inspired an attack on the Capitol by militias, conspiracists and white supremacists groups — groups that agree with his views that Mexicans are murderers and rapists, that Muslims should be banned from the entry to the country and that too many people from "shithole" countries are coming to the United States.
This is the same Kevin McCarthy who leads a party that is now fighting against having a commission to investigate that siege on our democracy. It's the same Kevin McCarthy whose party is openly and vigorously attempting to stop Black people from voting, is defending police terrorizing communities of color and is demonizing transgender Americans.
And even in this moment, McCarthy refused to call out his colleagues by name —Greene, Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona and others who warmed up to idea of the America First Caucus and its racist overtones — because he's too cowardly to take on the MAGA crowd.
The party of Lincoln? No, the GOP is the party of Trump. The chance to make it anything but that was lost when McCarthy and the vast majority of Republicans in the House and Senate refused to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection — and when McCarthy and others voted to overturn the presidential election.
And Trump for four years promoted nativism more openly and loudly than any modern president. Forget the "dog whistles." He used a bullhorn.
The truth is, McCarthy actually would rather the GOP go back to the days of the more subtle dog whistles, before the party had a president who ranted about dangerous migrant "caravans," inspiring mass-shootings as well as losing elections for the GOP, such as what happened in 2018's blue wave.
So when McCarthy saw the report of a leaked document describing the organizing platform of Greene's American First Caucus, with it's promotion of "Anglo-Saxon political traditions," surely he began fretting about those suburban voters the GOP has lost and the supercharged turnout among Democrats of the past few years:
America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions," the draft caucus platform says. "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.
Holy crap. The platform also attacks birthright citizenship and claims that immigrants coming to the United States before 1965, "were more educated, earned higher wages, and did not have an expansive welfare state to fall back on when they could not make it in America and thus did not stay in the country at the expense of the native-born."
And just in case the document didn't sound enough like it came out of the files of Mussolini or Hitler, the proposal lauds, "the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom."
Of course, all of these ideas were promoted by Trump and his administration, right down to the architectural flourishes, detailed in an an executive order he signed last year attacking modern architecture of some federal buildings and demanding only "classical" structures be built for the future.
So yeah, McCarthy saw nothing but trouble in saying the quiet part out loud — preferring to say the quiet part quietly — and sent out his tweet, though named no names. Greene backtracked — in her caustic, angry way —- attacking the media, saying the caucus was just in discussion and the document was just a "draft" that she'd not yet read, as did Gosar. But MAGA maniac Gaetz, currrently under investigation for sex-trafficking, said he'd be "proud" to be a member of the America First Caucus, while Gohmert, sounding dumb as rock as usual, defended the caucus while feigning ignorance of the organizing document, stating, "It's not supposed to be about race at all."
No matter what happens regarding any official caucus, you can bet the base of the GOP, and its so- called leaders, will continue to back or tolerate these vile positions and policies because they are Trump's — and Trump owns the party. McCarthy's laughable claim that the GOP is not a party of "racist dog whistles" takes me back to when President Obama compared the GOP to "the flat earth society" for its denialism on climate change, which had GOP leaders expressing outrage at the idea of being called anti-science.
That was 2012, and the party leaders have only continued to promote a fantasy of what the party is, while Trump and his MAGA loyalists in the House, Senate and state legislatures and governors mansions across the country are truly defining the GOP's direction and priorities.