Here’s today’s Republican Party in a nutshell: Arizona Republicans censured Cindy McCain for endorsing Joe Biden for president. When Rep. Paul Gosar spoke at a white nationalist conference, the Arizona Republican Party was silent.
Gosar showed up at the America First Political Action Conference on Friday night, serving as its surprise keynote speaker at the same time as the House was debating COVID-19 relief. At that event, he was followed by conference organizer Nick Fuentes, who called the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “awesome” and “light-hearted mischief.”
“If America ceases to retain that English cultural framework and the influence of European civilization, if it loses its White demographic core and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ, then this is not America anymore,” Fuentes said.
Gosar then appeared at the more moderate CPAC on Saturday—where the stage was totally accidentally in the shape of a Nazi symbol—and offered a weak denunciation of “white racism” as “not appropriate.”
Arizona’s Republican Party is not alone in embracing the far-far-far right. Republican committees in North Carolina and Louisiana censured Sens. Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy for voting to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection. Michigan Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddock was one of the organizers of an April event in which armed militia members tried to enter the floor of the state Senate. She also helped send 19 buses full of Trump supporters to Washington, D.C., for Jan. 6.
Then again, this is Donald Trump’s party, and in his own CPAC appearance, Trump vowed to purge the party of anyone who dares to stand against him. And that is inextricably tied to Trump’s white supremacist agenda. He’s taken the party from being one that operates in racist dog whistles and writing policies that are officially color blind but create or exacerbate racial disparities to being one where a member of Congress shows up at a white nationalist event and his state’s Republican Party has nothing to say about it.
How completely can Trump remake the Republican Party in his own image after costing it the House, the Senate, and the White House? So far, the answer seems to be like 95%.