Whitmer and Gilchrist call for action following ‘racist’ post from Rep. Schriver ⋆

Those condemning a state lawmaker’s public display of racist ideology now includes a GOP colleague, while Gov. Whitmer has called on the Republican caucus to take action.

Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer (right) and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist (left) on Feb. 1, 2024. (Anna Liz Nichols)

In a news release Friday, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called out state Rep. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) after he retweeted on X a graphic of the “Great Replacement” theory, which has been linked to white supremacist violence, and then later doubled-down on it after it sparked criticism.

“The abhorrent rhetoric pushed by a member of the Michigan House of Representatives goes against our state and national values,” said Whitmer. “We have a moral obligation to speak out against hatred. It is a failure of leadership for this kind of action to take place unchecked by the leaders of Rep. Schriver’s caucus, and the longer there is no action taken, the more responsibility leadership bears.”

The theory being promoted by Schriver states that a conspiracy is targeting white Americans and Europeans to be “replaced” by non-white populations, often through immigration or interracial relationships. 

It has become a prominent talking point among far-right white nationalists and has often been cited by the perpetrators of mass violence, including the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shootings that killed 11 Jewish worshipers, the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that killed 23 people, almost all of them Hispanic, and the 2022 mass shooting in a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., which targeted Black patrons and killed 10 people.

Joining Whitmer in her call for action was Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, the state’s first African American to hold that post.

“Racism is dark, dangerous, and disgraceful. Rep. Schriver’s pedaling of the racist ‘replacement theory’ is a deplorable demonstration of his fear of a dynamic and diverse Michigan future where all of our people in every community can succeed,” he said. “What is equally as abhorrent is the fact that this rhetoric has not been condemned in any serious way by Rep. Schriver’s Republican Party counterparts. The silence is deafening.”

A request for comment has been made by the to the office of state Rep. Matt Hall (R-Richland Twp.), the leader of the GOP House caucus. It has yet to be returned.

Rep. Donni Steele (R-Orion Twp.) speaks at a press conference on October 18, 2023, on the state Capitol steps. (Photo: Anna Liz Nichols)

However, on Friday afternoon, state Rep. Donni Steele (R-Orion Twp.) also condemned Schriver’s spreading of hateful conspiracy theories.

“All people have a moral obligation to speak out against hate whenever it rears its ugly head – this is one of those times,” said Steele. “As elected officials, we are the voice for our communities. We are held to a higher standard and must answer to all comments we make, including any and all social media posts. Hateful rhetoric goes against everything I believe and distracts from the positive work we’re trying to accomplish for the people of Michigan.”

Friday’s statements by Whitmer, Gilchrist and Steele followed criticism leveled earlier this week by several elected Democrats, most notably House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit), Michigan’s first African-American speaker. Tate blasted the post in a lengthy statement for being “blatantly racist” and expressed confusion as to why Schriver would, “espouse a deplorable and false theory” spreading “obvious hate.”

As for Schriver, he made several posts to X on Friday variously claiming that he is the victim of “racist attacks” and that the media is trying to “start a race war.”

Rep. Josh Schriver social media post

Rep. Josh Schriver social media post

Rep. Josh Schriver social media post

Rep. Josh Schriver social media post

Rep. Josh Schriver social media post

Rep. Josh Schriver social media post

authored by Jon King
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2024%2F02%2F09%2Fwhitmer-and-gilchrist-call-for-action-following-racist-post-from-rep-schriver%2F

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