Punchbowl News obtained a flier promoting the new caucus, which calls for a “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and pushes a series of conspiracy theories about election integrity. The flier also outlined a nativist argument warning that “mass immigration” poses a threat to “the long-term existential future of America as a unique country with a unique culture and a unique identity.”
A spokesperson for Greene, Nick Dyer, complained about the initial draft of the flier being leaked but confirmed to CNN in a statement that plans were in the works to form the group, which will be, “announced to the public very soon.”
Embattled GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is under federal investigation over allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution, tweeted Friday, “I’m proud to join @mtgreenee in the #AmericaFirst Caucus. We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers. This is just a hit piece from the America Last crowd in Big Media, Big Tech & Big Government.”
Congressional caucuses are voluntary groups usually made up of lawmakers seeking to advance certain policy agendas. While the groups operate outside of the formal congressional legislative structure, many have found success influencing debate and amplifying their shared policy prescriptions.
CNN has reached out to Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama, whom Punchbowl News reported to be involved in the caucus.
A spokesperson for Moore told CNN in a statement, “Congressman Moore wholeheartedly supports President Trump’s America First agenda and policies that prioritize hardworking Americans. He will not agree to join any caucus until he’s had an opportunity to research their platform, which he has not had the chance to do so with the America First Caucus and therefore has not joined.”
The lawmakers are known to be on the extreme far-right fringes of the GOP, and their rhetoric is often designed to grab headlines. The rhetoric surrounding protecting the American identity and “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” ties into a toxic argument with a racist legacy that immigrants are “replacing” Americans who were born in the United States.
Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania evoked a similar argument during a subcommittee hearing earlier this week set to examine why those from Central American countries comprise a disproportionate number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border.
“For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation,” Perry said.
Similar comments were also recently made by Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, underscoring how certain Republican lawmakers and right-wing media personalities are echoing and thus potentially legitimizing arguments that have been made by White nationalists and nativists for years.
The House voted in February to remove Greene, a freshman from Georgia, from her committee assignments after reports of her comments surfaced showing her encouragement of political violence, suggesting that the Parkland, Florida, school shooting was a “false flag” operation and conspiratorial claim that a space laser controlled by Jewish financiers started a California wildfire in 2018.
She has tried to make a name for herself being an outsider and a rabble rouser and routinely uses parliamentary procedures to slow down House floor business, much to the dismay of her colleagues.
But the tactics have helped her win support on the far right, and just this week her campaign announced she had raised $3.2 million in the first three months in office – an astonishing amount for a freshman member.
Following news of the new caucus Wednesday, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois tweeted, “Just when I was hoping to take a long weekend away from crazy I see this.”
“Completely disgusted,” he said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, tweeted Friday afternoon, “The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans—not nativist dog whistles.”
GOP conference chair Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, responded to the reporting about the new caucus from Greene in a tweet.
“Republicans believe in equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all. We teach our children the values of tolerance, decency and moral courage,” she wrote. “Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil. History teaches we all have an obligation to confront & reject such malicious hate.”