Ex-DHS official urges fellow conservatives to ‘quit the GOP’ following Buffalo terrorist massacre
While many Never Trump conservatives have left the Republican Party — from Washington Post columnist George Will to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to The Bulwark’s Tim Miller — others have chosen to remain and tried to fight from within the party. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, a blistering Trump critic and frequent guest on MSNBC, has said that he stays in the GOP because it drives MAGA Republicans crazy. And former Homeland Security official Miles Taylor has also remained — until now.
In a scathing op-ed published by NBC News’ website on May 17, Taylor explains why he has finally decided to leave the Republican Party.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for Taylor, the Never Trump conservative writes, was the mass shooting that occurred in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, May 14. According to law enforcement officials, the 18-year-old alleged shooter in that massacre was a White supremacist or White nationalist who wanted to carry out an attack in a heavily African-American area. The shooter, law enforcement officials alleged, targeted his victims simply because they were Black.
“I’ve been a political conservative most of my life, having worked for two Republican presidents and for a GOP-controlled Congress,” Taylor explains in the op-ed. “In the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday, it’s become glaringly obvious that my party no longer represents conservative values but in fact, poses a threat to them — and to America. That’s why I am quitting the GOP. I was wrong in thinking it could be saved.”
Taylor doesn’t mince words in his biting op-ed, saying that “vitriolic GOP rhetoric is inspiring violent radicals.”
“After more than a decade in counterterrorism, it’s clear to me that my party is mainstreaming conspiracy theories that are fueling a statistical spike in political intimidation, attitudes toward violence and the specter of domestic terrorism that we witnessed this weekend in New York,” Taylor laments. “This isn’t a partisan broadside. It’s a public safety warning. The Buffalo shooter was apparently radicalized by racist viewpoints that many Republicans espouse, and that danger can’t be tolerated any longer.”
One right-wing Republican who has condemned the Buffalo massacre in no uncertain terms and stressed that White nationalist rhetoric should have no place in conservatism is Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who Taylor applauds. But the former DHS official slams Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York State for her response. Rhetorically, Stefanik has promoted the Great Replacement theory —which is a racist conspiracy theory embraced by White nationalists, including, according to law enforcement officials, the alleged Buffalo shooter.
Taylor observes, “The office of No. 3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik, who has echoed extremist sentiments in her own campaign ads, went on a tirade against the mainstream media, failing to take responsibility for the toxic discourse that has become the engine of a wayward GOP…. The suspect in the Buffalo shooting allegedly wrote and posted a manifesto referencing this race-baiting theory before carrying out his massacre, eerily reflecting the ideas of major GOP figures. Fox News host Tucker Carlson, for instance, has repeatedly claimed that the Democratic Party is attempting to ‘replace the current electorate’ of White voters with so-called ‘Third World’ voters.”
Tim Miller calls his series of videos for The Bulwark Not My Party, which is his way of stressing that the Trumpified GOP no longer reflects his views as a traditional conservative. And Taylor, similarly, wraps up his op-ed by stressing that the radicalized GOP of 2022 is not a party he identifies with.
“This is not the Republican Party I signed up for,” Taylor writes. “Before Trump, the GOP was moving toward a bigger-tent party. Now, it’s regressing into culture wars and incivility closely resembling mob rule…. Conservatives of conscience must quit the GOP and oppose the Republican Party until it is rehabilitated or a suitable alternative is created. So today, in the tragic aftermath of Buffalo, I’m becoming something else — an independent — and my fellow conservatives should do the same.”
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