Let the racial healing commence.
Fresh off a couple of weeks in which the Republican president was caught equivocating on the once-uncontroversial subject of whether white supremacists and neo-Nazis are bad, the GOP would like very much to put the whole controversy behind it in order to concentrate on tax reform or anything else. Except whoops, members of the party just can't seem to help themselves.
First up is the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which supports Republican Senate candidates. The NRSC is targeting Sen. Joe Donnelly (R-IN) in his re-election campaign in 2018. Donnelly was caught up in a minor scandal recently when it was revealed he had earned at least $15,001 last year on stock dividends from his family's arts and crafts company, which manufactures some of its products in Mexico. Donnelly, who is a strong proponent of keeping American jobs from moving overseas, said he hasn't had a role in the family company in over 20 years but would sell his shares to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
The GOP response? Nicknaming him “Mexico Joe” and trolling him with a mariachi band:
Well, a better way might have been something a little less racist than trolling a white guy in Indiana with a mariachi band, at a moment when race is once again the forefront of a national conversation.
Next up was the Virginia Republican Party, which is backing Ed Gillespie against the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in a hotly contested gubernatorial election. In the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Northam has called for removing Confederate monuments from public view. The Virginia GOP, instead of making a reasoned argument for why the monuments should stay, put up two tweets that all but called Northam a traitor to the white race. According to The Washington Post:
In a two-part tweet on its official account posted shortly after noon, the state party took aim at Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, whose great-great-grandfather owned eight slaves in 1860 and nine slaves in 1850 on Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore.
“[email protected] has turned his back on his own family’s heritage in demanding monument removal (1/2),” it read. “Shows @RalphNortham will do anything or say anything to try and be #VAGov - #Pathetic 2/2.”
The party took the tweets down after a few hours and a huge outcry, replacing them with this:
I'm trying to figure out how the original tweets, which called a man with slave-owning ancestors “pathetic” for taking the view that his state should not erect monuments glorifying the people who fought a hugely bloody and costly war to defend the moral atrocity that was slavery, was possibly misinterpreted. And I'm drawing a huge blank. In any case, the city of Charlottesville is way ahead of the state Republicans on this one.
But it's good that the Virginia GOP wants to denounce racism in all forms. It should probably start in its own offices.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.