Barack Obama Shames GOP For Spreading Racist Conspiracy Theories

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Former President Barack Obama spoke out this week after a mass shooting in Buffalo perpetrated by a white supremacist who espoused the so-called “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which delusionally alleges white Americans are being intentionally “replaced” with people hailing from elsewhere. Remarks from prominent conservatives like Fox’s Tucker Carlson and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) have echoed this dangerous conspiracy theory.

“This weekend’s shootings in Buffalo offer a tragic reminder of the price we pay for refusing to curb the easy access to guns. It should also serve as a wakeup call for all Americans of goodwill, regardless of party,” the former president stated Monday, adding: “We need to repudiate in the strongest terms the politicians and media figures who — whether for political gain or to boost ratings — have used their platforms to promote and normalize “replacement theory” and other starkly racist, anti-Semitic, and nativist conspiracy theories. It’s despicable, it’s dangerous — and it needs to stop.” Throughout recent developments, there’s largely been no remorse shown by certain prominent right-wingers who have spread false conspiracy theories, even after the violence in Buffalo.

The distribution of conspiratorial lies by Carlson and others hasn’t been a one-time thing — a “Times investigation published this month showed that in more than 400 episodes of his show, [Tucker] Carlson has amplified the notion that Democratic politicians and other assorted elites want to force demographic change through immigration,” The New York Times said. The idea of white Americans getting “replaced” was among the inspirations for the shooter in Buffalo. Even if Carlson wants to talk about “native-born” Americans and fellow citizens instead of Americans explicitly noted as “white,” the connection remains.

Should Carlson and those aligned with him want to stick with the idea it’s just citizens about which they’re concerned — well, just about anyone can, in theory, become a citizen, making the distinction between the present status of the U.S. population and what liberal leaders are supposedly trying to do to it basically meaningless, which doesn’t actually support their arguments, not that there’s any real-world support. But sticking to “citizens” would make the claims even more self-defeating. It’s clear in these people’s rants they’re targeting immigrants — and when conservatives rant against immigrants, it’s no secret they’re often targeting those from generally non-white areas. On Monday — after the Buffalo shooting — Stefanik posted the following on Twitter: “Democrats desperately want wide open borders and mass amnesty for illegals allowing them to vote. Like the vast majority of Americans, Republicans want to secure our borders and protect election integrity.” There’s no real-world evidence for some kind of widespread Democratic conspiracy to specifically crowd out native-born Americans with immigrants to the U.S.

As outrage over Carlson’s promotion of ideas harbored by the Buffalo shooter continued to mount, the Monday night edition of the Fox host’s show featured Carlson trying to establish distance between himself and the violence. “The document is not recognizably left-wing or right-wing; it’s not really political at all. The document is crazy,” Carlson said, in reference to a screed written by the shooter — which is ridiculous. Carlson wasn’t just deceptively trying to absolve himself of any connection to what happened; he evidently wants to pretend as though what the shooter apparently said doesn’t directly reflect what’s been said by far-right extremists across the GOP. But here’s an example: in the scrutinized document, the shooter wrote, “Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength? Does anyone even ask why?” In a 2018 episode of his show, Carlson asked: “How, precisely, is diversity our strength?” Where’s the difference between these remarks?