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McConnell, when asked, fails to denounce racist ‘replacement theory’

ALLISON PECORIN

Tue, May 17, 2022, 7:28 p.m.·6 min read

As Democrats have ratcheted up condemnation of “replacement theory” in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, some Republicans on Capitol Hill have shied away from rejecting the racist idea that some members of their own party have espoused.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked repeatedly about his views of “replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that holds that Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with undocumented immigrants and people of color in order to win elections.

He repeatedly avoided denouncing it outright.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a news conference after a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol, on May 17, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

MORE: How ‘replacement theory’ became prominent in mainstream US politics

McConnell was asked whether he, as the party leader, had a responsibility to speak out against the theory, which authorities say was adopted by the 18-year-old white man accused of killing 10 Black people at a local food market.

He responded by denouncing the actions of the suspect, calling him a “deranged young man,” but making no mention of “replacement theory.”

Pressed again by reporters on whether the Republican Party is obligated to denounce the theory, McConnell condemned racism generally.

“Look — racism of any sort is abhorrent in America and ought to be stood up to by everybody, both Republicans, Democrats, all Americans,” McConnell said.

MORE: Biden labels Buffalo shooting ‘domestic terrorism’ after visiting scene

He then was asked whether he believed that Democrats are seeking amnesty for undocumented immigrants for the purpose of influencing and changing the electorate. He responded by criticizing the Biden administration’s policy at the southern border.

McConnell’s comments Tuesday came as the Senate GOP conference hosted Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who has used language similar to the theory on multiple occasions​​.

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