In an attempt to control the narrative around mass shootings in the United States, a leaked memo reveals the GOP’s strategy in doing so: Point the finger at the left and minimize the role of white supremacy at all costs.
The Tampa Bay Times has the scoop:
Congressional Republicans recently circulated talking points on gun violence that falsely described the El Paso massacre and other mass shootings as “violence from the left.”
A document obtained by the Tampa Bay Times and sent by House Republicans provides a framework for how to respond to anticipated questions like, “Why won’t you pass legislation to close the ‘gun show loophole’ in federal law?” and “Why shouldn’t we ban high-capacity magazines?” The answers are boilerplate Republican arguments against tougher gun restrictions.
Despite FBI Director Christopher Wray recently telling Congress that “a majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” the document, allegedly courtesy of the House Republican Conference, offers the following response to assertions that a relationship exists between white nationalism and the rash of recent mass shootings:
“White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form,” the document said. “We also can’t excuse violence from the left such as the El Paso shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Giffords’ shooter and Antifa.”
Typically, these communication strategies, which are created by the House Republican Conference, aren’t shared publicly. So this glimpse behind the veil has left the GOP rattled.
The office of Rep. Liz Cheney, chair of the House Republican Conference, declined requests to comment while Summer Robertson, spokeswoman for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), regurgitated the same modus operandi we’ve come to expect.
“We have sadly seen violence from ideological extremists on both sides and that is completely unacceptable and must be condemned,” Robertson told the Tampa Bay Times. “Congressman Bilirakis has always been clear that he denounces bigotry and hate speech, regardless of its source, including from white nationalists.”
But as most are well aware, the “both sides” argument is steeped in bullshit, as evidenced by the Anti-Defamation League’s findings:
“According to ADL’s Center on Extremism, 73.3% of U.S. extremist-related murders in the past decade were committed by right-wing extremists, including white supremacists,” the ADL tweeted on Aug. 4. “Leaders must immediately take concrete steps to curb this alarming trend. #ElPaso”
I don’t expect the GOP to ever change course from churning out official responses that are likely stolen from Tucker Carlson’s Teleprompter, but this revelation reinforces the depths of what we’re all up against.