A memo has surfaced that reveals congressional Republicans directed GOP members to spread lies about gun massacres perpetrated by right-wing white nationalists by blaming “violence from the left” instead.
The memo, obtained by The Tampa Bay Times, lists talking points for congressional Republicans to rely on when talking to journalists or constituents, writes David Badash for The New Civil Rights Movement. The memo also offers instructions on how questions regarding gun violence should be addressed.
And incredibly, that even involves the recent domestic terrorism perpetrated in El Paso, Texas.
If asked questions such as “Do you believe white nationalism is driving more mass shootings recently?” GOP members are being instructed to say this:
“White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form,” the memo instructs lawmakers. “We also can’t excuse violence from the left such as the El Paso shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Giffords’ shooter and Antifa.”
What the hey?
The El Paso shooter, who killed 22 people specifically targeted Hispanic people and is reportedly a far-right-wing domestic terrorist who wrote a manifesto that quoted President Donald Trump numerous times. And the man who killed six people and wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords wasn’t “from the Left,” TalkingPointsMemo reports. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and while he apparently held a grudge against Giffords, acquaintances told journalists he was generally apolitical.
“The GOP conference talking points ascribed other shootings as leftist violence despite ambiguous, if not contradictory, evidence,” the Times reported. “The shooter that wounded U.S. Rep Gabby Giffords, a Democrat, was paranoid about government and obsessed with the Arizona congresswoman, a law enforcement investigation found. His political persuasions were mixed and did not appear to be a factor.”
The Times noted that the shootings at a Colorado high school, perpetrated by two teens who had been bullied also weren’t motivated by politics. Even so, at least some members of Congress were including this misinformation in emails to their constituents. Such was the case with Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Beach) who distributed the talking points in a newsletter emailed to his constituents earlier this week.
So in other words, rather than attempting any meaningful legislation that might prevent these tragedies, the GOP leadership is doing what it’s always done — obfuscating the situation and encouraging, rather than abating hate.