Senate Republicans Are Leaning Toward Honoring Long-Dead White Supremacist Over John McCain

Senate Republicans Are Leaning Toward Honoring Long-Dead White Supremacist Over John McCain

“I am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic and political life of our state as any man who lives within her borders,” wrote Richard Russell, the man whose name is on one of the Senate’s three office buildings. Renaming that for someone who wasn’t an avowed white supremacist seems like a good idea, but naturally Senate Republicans are against it, even when presented with a proposal to name it after John McCain, one of their own.


The same Republicans who are willing to give lip service to opposing Donald Trump—Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake—are in favor of the idea, proposed by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But the two Republican senators from Russell’s home state of Georgia are bitterly opposed, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to kill the idea without outright rejecting it.

“This is a white man’s country, yes, and we are going to keep it that way,” Russell once said. While he also made his mark with important policies like free school lunches, someone who wasn’t simply an average-level-racist product of his time but a warrior against progress and equality and for white supremacy—named as such—should not be honored in this particular way.

That’s not to say John McCain is the right answer—he isn’t—but if he’s the wrong answer, he’s at least being used to raise the right question. His fellow Republicans, though, would rather continue to honor an avowed white supremacist (and proponent of free school lunches) than commit themselves to honoring someone who made Donald Trump mad.

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