Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) tried to have it both ways on Monday, first by denying she ever promoted the “great replacement” theory that reportedly inspired a “racially motivated” mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, over the weekend, then by amping up anti-immigrant rhetoric a short time later.
Recent Facebook ads from the lawmaker have alluded to the far-right conspiracy theory, which claims that white people are being intentionally replaced by minorities and immigrants as part of a “permanent election insurrection” by Democrats.
The ads led Stefanik’s hometown newspaper, Albany’s Times Union, to condemn her “hateful rhetoric” on Friday, one day before 10 people were killed by a teen shooter who left a 180-page manifesto claiming white Americans are at risk of being replaced by people of color by immigration, interracial marriage and eventually violence.
On Monday, Stefanik attempted to condemn the media, rival politicians and pretty much anyone else who noticed that her ads seemed to promote the same “great replacement” message that apparently inspired Saturday’s shooting.
The post included a quote from her senior adviser, Alex DeGrasse, claiming she has “never advocated for any racist position or made any racist statement.”
But if you thought Saturday’s tragedy might inspire Stefanik to tone down her rhetoric, you’d be sadly mistaken.
A few minutes after posting her statement denying even the remote possibility that her previous statements might be inspiring attacks like Saturday’s, Stefanik decided to double down on the rhetoric.
Many Twitter users weren’t impressed by Stefanik’s responses ― or the timing.