I honestly would have preferred not to comment on the Republican’s soap opera-esque fight for their second speaker (in less than a year). I just wanted to enjoy the constant backstabbing and backroom deals in the same way I enjoy watching reality TV shows like the critically acclaimed Real Housewives of New York, or what will be riveting television in the form of House of Villains. But I was sort of caught off guard by a specific interview yesterday that required me to point something out.
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina (clearly suffering from main character syndrome) was on Jake Tapper’s show The Lead yesterday to discuss the Speaker’s race and her support for Ohio’s Jim Jordan. In addition to making a bizarre claim that House Democrats trust Jim Jordan (Tapper’s facial expressions are really the only fact check you need), Mace said the reason she wouldn’t support Louisiana’s Steve Scalise (not that it really matters now, seeing as how he dropped out) was due to the fact that he attended a white supremacist conference. Does…Nancy Mace know who Jim Jordan…is?
There are at least a half a dozen examples of Jim Jordan actively engaging in white supremacy I can name off hand. He 1) refused to sign onto a letter condemning it (white supremacy); 2) voted against condemning Trump’s vile and racist tweets about predominately Black and Brown countries; 3) entertained the “great replacement” conspiracy theory in a hearing about the crisis at the southern border; 4) vehemently opposed a bill that would allow for a commission to study reparations proposals (Jordan claimed it would “take money from people who were never involved in the evil of slavery and give it to people who were never subject to the evil of slavery,” as if Black people today are are not still feeling the ripple effects of the transatlantic slave trade); 5) held a virulently racist field hearing about crime; and of course, as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) put it, Jordan 6) fired off an “inane and anti-Semitic” dog-whistle tweet about Tom Steyer. These are just a few examples. There are undoubtedly many many more given his affiliation with the House Freedom Caucus and the Tea Party.
White supremacy among Congressional Republicans is nothing new. We could talk about Steve King and Strom Thurmond all day (or Tommy Tubberville, who refused to condemn white nationalists), but that’s not really what this is about. It is fascinating how the GOP very selectively condemns white supremacy. I, as a gay Black man, in no way will ever defend Steve Scalise. That said, I do believe underplaying Jordan’s racism while denouncing Scalise’s is disingenuous at best, and at worst dangerous. Sure, Jim Jordan has not hung out at a Klan rally, but he is just as bad as Scalise.
I advise anyone who truly believes that racism is confined to the South to brush up on the history of the southern strategy, and how Republicans exploited the racial animus of white voters by fear-mongering about crime, federal spending, and voting rights. Obviously, no one should deny the gross history of anti-Black racism in the South, but the point is that racist ideologues and lawmakers can and are found nationwide.
Scalise and Jordan are both racist. Neither of them have a leg to stand on, and for Nancy Mace to moralize on some nonexistent distinction is a slap in the face to all marginalized communities that suffer at the hands of white supremacy.