Nebraska Republican Calls Out His Own Party For Silence In Response To Trump’s Rhetoric

A Republican State Legislator in Nebraska says things that other Republicans don't have the courage to say.

A Nebraska Republican state legislator has called out his own party for encouraging and fomenting the kind of anti-immigrant hate speech that led to Saturday’s mass murder in El Paso, Texas:

A Republican state representative is speaking out against what he believes is his own party’s complicity in “enabling white supremacy,” and says history won’t judge his fellow Republicans kindly.

Nebraska state legislator Rep. John McCollister tweeted Sunday night, “The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s the truth.”The Twitter thread came one day after a white supremacist killed at least 20 people in El Paso, Texas.

The criticism came as some politicians began pointing to the rhetoric from the Republican Party and the current administration as a contributing factor for the violence.McCollister, who represents part of Omaha, said that he didn’t think all Republicans are racist or white supremacists, but “the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party.”

“We have a Republican president who continually stokes racist fears in his base. He calls certain countries ‘sh*tholes,’ tells women of color to “go back” to where they came from and lies more than he tells the truth,” he added.

He finished the tweets asking his colleagues to no longer look the other way.”When the history books are written, I refuse to be someone who said nothing,” he said. “The time is now for us Republicans to be honest with what is happening inside our party. We are better than this and I implore my Republican colleagues to stand up and do the right thing.”

On Monday night, the Nebraska Republican Party tweeted a press release headlined, “McCollister should tell the truth and change his registration.”

“John McCollister has been telegraphing for years that he has little if nothing in common with the Republican voters in his district by consistently advocating for higher taxes, restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment rights, and the pro-abortion lobby,” party Executive Director Ryan Hamilton said in the release. “His latest false statement about Republicans should come as no surprise to anyone who is paying attention, and we’re happy he has finally shed all pretense of being a conservative.”

More from the Omaha World-Herald:

WASHINGTON — Nebraska State Sen. John McCollister is speaking out against his own Republican Party and President Donald Trump.

“The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country,” McCollister wrote on Twitter on Sunday night. “As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s the truth.”

In a phone interview Monday, McCollister said he has been concerned about the direction of his party for some time, but the horrors of people being gunned down over the weekend represented a tipping point.

McCollister’s Twitter posts came after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday that left 22 people dead and 24 injured. Authorities have linked the gunman to a manifesto posted online that railed against an “invasion” of Latino immigrants, particularly in Texas.

McCollister, 72, has identified as a moderate voice in the party and represents a district in central Omaha. His father, the late John Y. McCollister, was a Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1970s.

McCollister wrote on Twitter that he’s not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists or even that the average Republican is a racist.

“What I am saying though is that the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party,” he wrote. “We have a Republican president who continually stokes racist fears in his base. He calls certain countries ‘sh*tholes,’ tells women of color to ‘go back’ to where they came from and lies more than he tells the truth.”

He said Republican lawmakers look the other way and say nothing because they are afraid of losing elections.

“No more,” he wrote. “When the history books are written, I refuse to be someone who said nothing. The time is now for us Republicans to be honest with what is happening inside our party. We are better than this and I implore my Republican colleagues to stand up and do the right thing.”

Here are State Senator McCollister’s tweets:

McCollister also did an interview yesterday on CNN:

And here’s the all-too-predictable response of the Nebraska Republican Party:

McCollister is, of course, absolutely right. With an incredibly small handful of exceptions, very few Republicans in office or outside of it have had the moral fortitude to speak out against a President who has spent the past four years if not longer openly appealing to the worst aspects of American politics.

Throughout the course of his time as a Presidential candidate, nominee, and as President, Donald Trump has lashed out against MexicansMuslimsdisabled people, a Federal District Court Judge who happened to be Mexican-American and a Gold Star Family who happened to be Muslim.  In response to N.F.L. players who were peacefully kneeling to protest racially biased police violence, he responded by calling the largely African-American players “sons of bitches.” He responded to the racist rally that resulted in a murder in Charlottesville by essentially excusing the rhetoric of the white supremacists who organized the rally. And, of course, most recently he has spent the last two week engaged in racist attacks on four minority Congresswomen and on House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. This week, that target list expanded to include CNN anchor Don Lemon, who is African-American and who Trump once against described earlier today as “one of the dumbest men on television,” something he has said about the CNN host in the past.

Additionally, long before he became a candidate for President, Trump engaged in housing discrimination in the 1970s. In the 1990s, he took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty for the so-called Central Park Five, a group of five African-American teens who were falsely convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park. Even to this day, Trump refuses to apologize for that position and refuses to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of their innocence. Finally, and perhaps most infamously, he first dipped his toes in 21st Century national politics by embracing the racist birther conspiracy.

As I’ve said before, Republicans knew exactly what they were getting when they nominated Donald Trump three years ago. If they did so somehow hoping he’d change, then they obviously weren’t paying attention over the thirty or more years that he has been in the public eye, because he hasn’t really changed one bit. Despite that, and despite the rhetoric and the actions he’s taken since he became President, most Republicans have stood by and said nothing publicly even while many of them will admit, in private, that the man as a boorish, narcissistic, xenophobic racist who is dragging their party down the drain further and further every day he remains in power. This is why those who have spoken out, such as Justin Amash, who has since left the party, and State Senator McCollister stand out.

Eventually, there will be a reckoning and the sycophants, sellouts, and cowards will have to account for their actions and their silence. Perhaps it would be wise for them to consider how history will remember them because, as things stand, they will not be treated sympathetically.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Race and Politics, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    John McCollister: “We’re the party of Lincoln! We’re better than this!”
    Nebraska Republican Party: “The fuck we are! Get out liberal!”

    40
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:
    I think you pretty much summed this one up.

    The GOP response mentions McCollister’s false statement about Republicans. I am unable to find it.

  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Perhaps it would be wise for them to consider how history will remember them because, as things stand, they will not be treated sympathetically.

    They do not care. Trump only cares about himself…it won’t matter when he is dead.
    Barr said as much:

    “I am at the end of my career, Barr, 69, said. Everyone dies, and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that, you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?”

    Guiliani, too:

    “I don’t care about my legacy,” he said. “I’ll be dead.”

  4. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Not false, but when he says “we’re better than this,” he’s clearly mistaken.

    He seems to be “better than this,” to his credit. And no doubt the GOP should be “better than this,” to. But they are not.

    10
  5. Jay L Gischer says:

    Eventually there will be a reckoning …

    I sure hope so. Right now, that’s as much about faith as about facts on the ground. This is the same country that elected Barack Obama president in 2008. I cried that day. I was so proud of him, and of us. And now here we are. I’m still trying to get a grip on what happened.

    12
  6. michael reynolds says:

    That the GOP, once the party of Lincoln, has allowed itself to be distilled down into an undeniably racist, white supremacist party is astonishing in its stupidity. They did their ‘autopsy,’ drew some reasonable conclusions then decided, No, we’re going to grovel at the feet of a two-bit conman, a draft dodger, a charity fraud, a money launderer, a traitor who will preach the true Republican faith of white supremacy and toxic masculinity.

    Where in God’s name did they imagine that would leave them? We’ve got black, Asian, Hispanic, gay, urban, young and educated. All either stable or growing demos. They decided to take white, rustic, old and uneducated. All shrinking demos. Step back and it looks an awful lot like suicide.

    18
  7. mattbernius says:

    Fun fact about the @NEGOP. Their comms director is Ryan Hamilton (who isn’t currently returning inquiries according to journalists).

    Some background: This guy used to work in Nevada for a company paid by the NRA to help defeat background checks and paid by @AdamLaxalt’s failed gov campaign after he tried to defeat background checks and then blocked its implementation.

    https://twitter.com/JC_Christian/status/1158574101033713669

  8. Alex Hamilton says:

    The Republican state party response is baffling to me. Does he realize he just acquiesced that Republicans are racists and if you’re not a racist you should be a Democrat?!? I know quite a few Nebraska Republicans who will cringe at this story. To them, they are the party of Lincoln and moderate conservative politics.

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Alex Hamilton:

    To them, they are the party of Lincoln and moderate conservative politics.

    I think the State GOP guy simply wanted to have it both ways…but you cannot be both the party of Lincoln and support Trump…the two things are in diametric opposition.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Sort of like a Nazi in the pre-war years wondering aloud, Why we can’t be Nazis and also like Jews?

  11. EddieinCA says:

    @Alex Hamilton:

    This.

    Reading the NEGOP Tweet, I was flummoxed by the implication. Basically, they’re saying…”No. Trump doesn’t need to change. It’s okay he’s racist. We’re supporting him. You need to get your liberal ass out of here.”… TO AN ELECTED GOP LEGISLATOR!!!

    WTF?

  12. Teve says:

    @EddieinCA: What happens when a cult member questions the cult leader? He gets the boot! Furthermore, he was never a Real Member.

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    comment deleted because of duplication of another post

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    .@SenMcCollister should tell the truth and change his party registration. pic.twitter.com/qrC2XOpoxk
    — NEGOP (@NEGOP) August 5, 2019

    They’re right, he should leave, but they misspelled NEKKK.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    First Michigan, Now Nebraska.

    Honest conservatives are shocked and speaking up, only to be beaten down by a complicit GOP party.

    Sad.

  16. Richard Gardner says:

    So a minor state member of the Unicameral says something against the party and it is national news? I used to live adjacent to his district in County 59 = Sarpy (what, you don’t number your counties? Nebraska does). Next up, Ernie Chambers – I actually think he keeps the Unicameral honest (and agree with his crusade against the death penalty), but at what cost? – his quotes would at times embarrass the Democrats, but don’t make national news. Much ado about nothing. But Orange Man bad so we get silly stories like this one. Next up, the dog catcher from ….

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    So a minor state member of the Unicameral says something against the party and it is national news?….silly stories like this one…

    Always a good idea to trivialize someone who takes a moral stand against hypocrisy.
    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  18. Blue Galangal says:

    @Mister Bluster: Mr. Richard Troll reminded me of this interesting Twitter thread I happened across a couple of days ago. tl;dr: when you see “Orange Man Bad,” disengage and block. Life’s too short.

    For those interested in the thread from Alexandra Erin on Twitter: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1158468523099873280.html.

    When reality has a liberal bias, conservatives have to demonize the very idea of fact-checking as being slanted against them.

  19. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    The major crime is to go against the party, always. Orwell was prescient (or, more accurately, someone who actually had experience with fascism and communism and wasn’t blinded by the idea that “it could never happen here”).