Bennie Thompson Steamrolls GOP For Trying To Whitewash Far-Right Violence


During a recent hearing of a subcommittee on the House panel dealing with homeland security, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called out the Republican attention on ostensible left-wing violence, which is where the proceedings were focusing. Inherent in that approach seems to be purposeful ignorance among some about the basic realities of far-right violence that has affected the United States.

In mass shootings throughout recent years from El Paso to Colorado Springs to Buffalo to Allen, Texas, attackers with evident belief in extreme-right ideologies have committed atrocities, with implicit help, of course, from the Republican commitment to lax gun laws. Republican officials in several southern states have pursued allowing concealed carry without a permit, and despite polls showing even a majority in favor of a national ban on assault rifles, try and imagine how Republican politicians would react to being asked to actually vote on such an idea.

“Marking the anniversary of the Buffalo supermarket shooting with a hearing on left-wing extremism displays a shocking lack of sensitivity to the scores of individuals harmed by far-right violence,” Thompson said. “At best, today’s hearing is a missed opportunity to conduct meaningful oversight over how the government is combating the disturbing trend in right-wing violence that is wreaking havoc on communities across the country. At worst, it’s a shameful attempt to whitewash and deflect attention from inaction on gun violence and the threat posed by far-right extremist groups by vastly overstating the consequences of left-wing extremism.”

Thompson led the committee in the House that investigated January 6. In his remarks, he also discussed the evident tendency among certain Republicans to openly welcome the allegiance of participants in far-right violence, exemplified by Trump’s avid support of participants in the Capitol riot and connected schemes. He noted the simple fact that Democrats have been largely unified in their rejection of violence. Relatedly, the narrative that Democratic politicians somehow meaningfully embraced or otherwise welcomed — or at least facilitated — violence seen amid protests for racial justice in 2020 is still not accurate. Supporting a bail fund that was meant to back individuals whose cases weren’t always even pursued by local authorities is not remotely equivalent to supporting actual violence.