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Republicans launch predictable, inaccurate attack on hate group watchdog that calls out anti-LGBT+ and racist extremism

Nick Duffy August 25, 2020
US President Donald Trump speaks on the first day of the Republican National Convention

US President Donald Trump speaks on the first day of the Republican National Convention (Chris Carlson-Pool/Getty Images)

The Republican National Committee has disavowed the work of an extremism watchdog which does invaluable work tracking hate groups targeting the LGBT+ community.

In the latest sign of the party’s embrace of extremism under the Trump administration, GOP delegates on Monday (August 24) approved a resolution turning fire on the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The body, born out of the civil rights movement in Alabama in 1971, has won plaudits for its decades of work tracking and challenging white supremacist movements.

However, in recent years it has become a frequent target of conservatives and evangelicals for also monitoring anti-LGBT extremist groups.

The resolution passed by the GOP on Monday stepped up the attacks, describing the SPLC as “a far-left organisation with an obvious bias” that “makes a practice of incorrectly labelling persons and organisations as ‘hate groups'”.

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during the first day of the Republican National Convention
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during the first day of the Republican National Convention (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The resolution cites the inclusion of anti-LGBT+ lobbying group Family Research Council, which the Republicans claim has been targeted due to its “support of the traditional family”.

The SPLC’s listing for the Family Research Council is comprised almost entirely of direct quotes from the hate group’s leaders, who peddle false claims that the “goal” of the LGBT+ community is “luring children into sexual confusion.”

The Republicans also attacked the SPLC’s work informing the Department of Homeland Security about threats from extremist groups, insisting: “The federal government should not view this organisation as a legitimate foundation equipped to provide actionable information to DHS or any other government agency.”

Southern Poverty Law Center pushes back at Republican attacks.

The SPLC has pushed back at the resolution, noting that at no point does the Republican resolution actually denounce the anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi, Islamophobic and anti-LGBT groups that SPLC tracks.

Southern Poverty Law Center president Margaret Huang said: “This Republican National Committee’s resolution is an attack on the SPLC’s definition of hate groups in order to excuse the Trump administration’s history of working with individuals and organisations that malign entire groups of people — such as Black Lives Matter advocates, immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community — with dehumanising rhetoric.

“While the Republican Party approved this resolution, notably, it did not denounce organisations that promote antisemitism, Islamophobia, neo-Nazis, anti-LGBT sentiment or racism. It only criticised the SPLC for challenging hate groups that have found a place in the Republican Party.”

Huang warned: “We have recently seen evidence of hate groups and extremists making inroads into the Republican Party.

“Some in the party welcome QAnon into the GOP’s fold. The indictment of Stephen Bannon in recent days is a reminder of the extremism that he sought to embed in the Republican Party. And the SPLC has shined a light on OANN’s Jack Posobiec, a reporter at Trump’s favourite ‘news’ network, who is aligned with white supremacy and has used his platform to further hate speech and propaganda.

“Now, Trump and the GOP are doubling down with QAnon and partnering with hate groups that are seeking to muzzle anyone who stands in their way of furthering their agenda and hurting communities that we care about.

“But we’re not going to back down from calling out white supremacists and hate groups or pushing back against their dehumanising rhetoric.”

More: gop, Republican, Southern Poverty Law Centre, splc

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