Looks like U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has traded in his dog whistle for a bullhorn.
On Friday, Punchbowl News reported the East Texas Republican had agreed to join a nakedly nativist congressional group, the “America First Caucus." Formed by controversial Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the caucus vowed to safeguard the "interests of the American people."
But in its policy platform, the caucus wrote it views America as “a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” It also called for cultural assimilation within education, and for infrastructure encompassing an aesthetic value that “befits the progeny of European architecture.”
Greene, who sparked controversy in the past for promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory, later nixed the launch of her caucus after catching blowback from GOP leaders, according to CNN.
The term Anglo-Saxon has been co-opted by white supremacists to describe white people of British origin, according to The Times. Racists also use it to perpetuate the historical myth of white world dominance. Even Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler was enamored by the “‘Anglo-Saxon determination’ to hold India.”
Still, Gohmert insists that the caucus was formed in good faith.
"It's not returning to Anglo-Saxon tradition," Gohmert said, according to Reuters. "It's not supposed to be about race at all. We're stronger, you know, diversified. But there's some things that helped make us strong."
This isn’t the first time Gohmert has been accused of flirting with the far-right. He was a staunch defender of former Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King, who lost his bid for reelection in 2020 after years of making virulently racist comments.
Plus, Gohmert backed the racist “birther” conspiracy theory, which claimed former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
Fellow caucus member Greene herself has been accused of being racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim. Meanwhile, Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz also agreed to join the group, even though he's under federal investigation over allegations of prostitution and sex trafficking.
News of the caucus drew criticism from both sides of the aisle. Taiwanese American U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, challenged the idea that the caucus "isn’t about race" by asking if he could sign up.
“Dear @mtgreenee and @RepGosar: When you say Anglo-Saxon, do you mean Aryan? Or master race?" Lieu said in a tweet.
Dear @mtgreenee and @RepGosar: When you say Anglo-Saxon, do you mean Aryan? Or master race?— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 16, 2021
Can I join? Will your caucus meetings serve tacos?
I served on active duty in the US military to defend your right to form Aryan type organizations. I just wish you wouldn’t do so. https://t.co/JHrSoRIhzl
Another Democratic congressman, Pennsylvania’s Brendan Boyle, reminded the Republican lawmakers that their favorite children’s book author disliked nationalism and Nazism.
“Since the @HouseGOP is suddenly big defenders of Dr Seuss, they would do well to see one of his most famous cartoons, given their creation of the #americafirstcaucus today," Boyle wrote.
And Texas U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican, summed it all up with a “what the f***” reaction gif.
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