Right-wing Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) was denounced by her local newspaper for touting the racist “great alternative theory” just months before an accused mass killer used it to justify a racist massacre in Stefanik’s state.
“How low, Ms. Stefanik?” the editorial within the Albany Times Union asked in September.
Stefanik, a Donald Trump disciple who’s now the third-ranking House Republican, was condemned by the newspaper for a Facebook campaign ad campaign that promoted the racist conspiracy that whites are being replaced by people of color through immigration or, eventually, violence. Other right-wing figures, including Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, even have pitched the racist falsehood.
Payton Gedron, the accused Buffalo supermarket shooter, repeatedly cited the speculation in a web based treatise before allegedly shooting 13 people, killing 10 — most of them Black.
Stefanik’s ads didn’t specifically name the speculation, but clearly evoked its racist vision. The Republican lawmaker “isn’t so brazen as to make use of the [usual theory] slogans themselves; fairly, she couches the hate in alarmist anti-immigrant rhetoric that’s turn into standard fare for the party of Donald Trump,” the Albany Times Union editorial charged.
“The concept of America as a melting pot just isn’t some idealistic fiction of the left; it is a component of the muse of this nation’s greatness,” the paper wrote. “If there’s anything that needs replacing on this country — and within the Republican Party — it’s the hateful rhetoric that Ms. Stefanik and much too a lot of her colleagues so seamlessly spew.”
Stefanik’s ad accused President Joe Biden and Democrats of fomenting a “everlasting election rebel” by allowing increasing numbers of immigrants into the U.S. and expanding citizenship for undocumented immigrants to capture their votes. It was all a ploy to outnumber white Republican voters to silence them, she claimed.
Stefanik’s senior adviser Alex deGrasse told the Times Union Sunday that the lawmaker has never supported alternative theory — or racism. He told The Washington Post that the claims against Stefanik are a “recent disgusting low for the left … and the sycophant stenographers within the media.”
“The shooting was an act of evil and the criminal must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” deGrasse added.
Stefanik was roundly attacked last week for blaming mysterious “pedo grifters” for in some way causing the shortage of infant formula within the U.S. Some critics viewed it as a dog whistle to QAnon conspiracists who baselessly consider Democrats are running a world child sex trafficking ring.
Critics warned that such outlandish claims could trigger violence against imagined enemies. A gunman opened fire in 2016 on a Washington pizzeria that was identified as a headquarters for the nonexistent trafficking operation. Nobody was injured. The gunman was sentenced to 4 years in prison.