As the House goes into the third week of not having an elected leader due to GOP chaos, progressive Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pennsylvania) is condemning Republican members for continually nominating speaker candidates like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) with an extensive background of peddling antisemitism and white supremacy.
In a scathing press statement released Tuesday, Lee’s office referred to Jordan as a “white supremacist antisemite” and listed a litany of instances in which Jordan has spread antisemitism and white supremacy as a House member and chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Republicans’ support for Jordan as speaker — and for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) last week — is especially damning amid Israel’s apartheid and war and Hamas’s attack on Israelis, Lee said.
“At a moment when our Jewish communities are in so much pain, I am horrified that days after attempting to elect a Speaker who spoke at a white supremacist convention hosted by a group whose website said that ‘Jews will attack us for wanting to restore white America,’ Republicans are now planning to elect [a] Speaker who has used his official role as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to spread antisemitic tropes and replacement theory online and on national TV,” the progressive said.
Lee’s office then cited a number of antisemitic actions taken by Jordan: He supported and helped stoke the January 6 attack on the Capitol, which was carried out by a crowd of far right extremists including neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In a 2019 tweet that is still up today, Jordan’s official Twitter account referred to Jewish Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer as “Tom $teyer.” According to a Media Matters for America analysis, Jordan appears on Fox News to peddle the virulently antisemitic “great replacement theory” more often than any other Republican Congress member. He’s refused to condemn fellow GOP members Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and Mary Miller (Illinois) when they’ve spewed antisemitism.
Further, under Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee tweeted in support of Kanye West even as he vowed to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” online, with the committee only deleting the tweet after he later said, “I like Hitler.”
Several civil rights groups joined Lee’s call for Republicans to withdraw their support of Jordan.
“Electing Jim Jordan as speaker is an endorsement of decades of the dangerous and hateful rhetoric he has directed towards minorities, including Arab Americans. This would be not only an extremely divisive move, but one that is sure to continue to empower those with the most extreme white supremacist ideologies, sometimes with deadly consequences,” said American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee National Government Affairs and Advocacy Director Chris Habiby. “Jim Jordan is the antithesis of what America needs in leadership.”
Jordan is currently the GOP’s top pick for speaker, though his chances of winning the position are dim after he lost his second House-wide vote for the position on Wednesday afternoon with 22 Republicans voting against him.
His speakership bid comes as Israel is carrying out a siege of Gaza, sparking a barrage of accusations of antisemitism against politicians and activists who have spoken out against Israel’s apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Last week, the House GOP caucus condemned any support of Palestinians from Democrats as antisemitic, putting out a statement equating progressive Democrats’ refusal to attend an address by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to antisemitism. This is despite a large number of Jewish people who say that it is often a cynical strategy of Zionists to paint support of Palestinian rights as antisemitic and that accusations of antisemitism designed to foster support for bloodshed are disingenuous.
Meanwhile, Republicans have long sought to silence the few Democrats who speak up against Israel’s apartheid — including, last week, the only Palestinian in Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan).
Two House Republicans filed a resolution to censure Tlaib last week, condemning her for identifying Israel’s occupation of Palestine as apartheid and commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nakba earlier this year. Even though other progressive Democrats like Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri) had expressed similar sentiments to Tlaib in recent weeks, Tlaib was the only one to face a censure resolution.
Last week, Lee also shined a light on Scalise’s racist and antisemitic hate, including a time when he referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage.”“Every Republican who votes for his Speakership will vote in support of rising anti-semitism, white supremacy, and islamophobia,” Lee said. Scalise was nominated as Republicans’ pick for speaker last week with over 100 votes, ultimately dropping out after it became clear that he could not garner the 217 votes needed to win the position when it came to a full House vote.
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