The Republican Party once stood for limited government and tax cuts, but at this point, it would not be hyperbolic to say the GOP might as well be selling “Honk if you heart racism” bumper stickers and T-shirts. Whether it’s the leader of the free world telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” a US congresswoman speaking at an event put on by a white nationalist, a US senator publicly declaring he wasn’t afraid of the January 6 rioters but would have been worried if they were Black Lives Matter protesters, or the complete and total hysteria over children learning about systemic racism, truly nothing unites this group of people like demonizing anyone who isn’t white. So it was fully unsurprising to see conservatives embrace and give props to Kanye West after he wore a “white lives matter” T-shirt at his Paris fashion show last week. Still, one might have thought that the GOP would at least attempt to distance themselves from the billionaire rapper after he appeared to suggest he wanted to eliminate all living Jews over the weekend. But apparently, one would have thought wrong.
A day after posting screenshots on Instagram of text messages with Sean “Diddy” Combs, in which he accused the fellow rapper of being controlled by Jewish people, West, who changed his name to simply “Ye” last year, tweeted: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” While it was not clear if he’d meant to write “Defcon,” or actually meant “death con,” neither would be great, given the persecution that Jews have historically faced, including that one period in which more than 6 million of them were wiped off the face of the earth.
The reaction from the GOP, which has embraced West for years now and aided in his political ambitions, ranged from deafening silence to outright defense.
The attorney general of Indiana, Todd Rokita, said in a series of tweets: “The constant hypocrisy from the media is at an all-time high. They have now gone after Kanye for his new fashion line, his independent thinking, & for having opposing thoughts from the norm of Hollywood. Kanye’s message in this instance is fair and accurate, & regardless, he is entitled to his opinion. The media will steamroll anyone if they do not kowtow to their way of thinking. According to them, you’re not thinking correctly if you don’t completely agree with them. The left is dividing us, not uniting us.” Facing a wave of backlash, Rokita attempted to backpedal, writing: “My post was specifically and clearly aimed at the hypocrisy of the media and Hollywood elites, not anything to do with other comments. I have an obvious, clear and substantial Congressional and public record of being 100% supportive of the Jewish community and Israel.”
Of course, no one actually believes this, but just for yuks, let’s take Rokita at his word and accept that his post was “specifically and clearly aimed at the hypocrisy of the media and Hollywood elites, not anything to do with other comments.” That’s like vocally defending Jeffrey Dahmer right after he murdered 16 people, and then, after receiving backlash for it, insisting that it had nothing to do that, which you definitely don’t agree with.
Separately, the whole “the media is mean to Kanye” argument doesn’t actually hold up in the face of, as Wonkette’s Stephen Robinson points out, the media’s very nice treatment of the guy. Per Robinson:
Elsewhere, the official House Judiciary Committee has made the choice not to remove its Thursday tweet lumping West together with other narcissistic conservatives they love.
Speaking of Elon Musk, the tech billionaire heartily welcomed West back to Twitter shortly before the “death con” tweet, in case you were wondering what the site will be like under his ownership (Because Musk does not own Twitter yet, West has had his tweet removed and account suspended.)
To date, it does not appear that any major Republicans have publicly condemned West’s comments. And while it’s possible not everyone has seen them, in the case of those who have, the silence probably has to do with the fact that they simply don’t have a problem with them. Incidentally, this all happened right around the time a GOP Senate nominee gave a speech in the same room as Hitler’s car. Which the party also did not appear to mind.