A group of Congressional Republicans is carrying on the “Trump tradition” in a new caucus. First reported by Punchbowl News, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar launched the effort last week.
Both promoted conspiracy theories around the election and encouraged the Stop The Steal effort leading up to the Capitol attack. Gosar reportedly helped plan the event that immediately preceded the attack on January 6.
A seven-page policy platform overview cites the need for “intellectual boldness” and safeguarding the interests of the American people.
A staff person for Greene tried to dismiss the Punchbowl reporting as just gossip. But the policy platform parrots several issues raised by Trump and his close allies. The platform references to ending vote-by-mail, “reforming” Section 203, and called the response to the COVID-19 pandemic an overreaction.
Focused on promoting states’ rights, the platform advocates divesting power from the federal government. They also want to have an architectural focus “that befits the progeny of European architecture.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert said he considered joining the caucus. Gohmert claimed the caucus isn’t about race. Still, the policy document attributed to the caucus references “respect for the Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and the threat of foreigners to “political unity.”
Matt Gaetz, the embattled Florida Congressman official under investigation for sex crimes, announced on Twitter he was “proud” to join Greene’s caucus.
The Trump world is on an “America First” launch spree. Former Trump advisors and staff members announced the formation of the “America First Policy Institute.” Stephen Miller is starting “America First Legal.”
It’s probably no coincidence that Trump ally Greene announced a congressional caucus as well. America First has long been a loaded phrase. In a 2018 interview, author Sarah Churchwell said it is connected to isolationist views and other ideas adopted by groups like the KKK.
Clinging to a racist worldview can also be seen at the state level. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared April Confederate Heritage Month. The state also recognizes Confederate Memorial Day on April 26. Confederate Heritage Month is not new in southern states in the current climate; the choice to recognize the Confederacy, like “America First,” sends a particular message.
The Clarion-Ledger reported a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans posted a copy of the proclamation as Reeves did not make it public. The state changed its flag last summer, removing the confederate symbol first raised in 1894 during a period of widespread white supremacist terror and violence following the end of reconstruction.
In Georgia, Officials denied the Sons of Confederate Veterans a permit to hold an event at Stone Mountain Park on Saturday, April 17. The permit was denied on the grounds of public health and public safety concerns. An Atlanta CBS affiliate reported the rejection letter expressed concern for “’the volatile nature of events of the immediate past and ongoing today; there is a clear and present danger to members of the SCV, potential counter-protesters, Park employees and guests.”
Completed in the early 1970s, Stone Mountain is the largest Confederate memorial in the United States. The memorial’s creation is directly tied to white supremacy, with the KKK welcomed on the property for decades. While Georgia no longer officially recognizes Confederate Memorial Day, the state lists April 26 as a generic state holiday recognized on a day earlier in the month.
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