Michigan lawmaker’s post on racist conspiracy theory leads to committee ouster

The Michigan House of Representatives removed Republican lawmaker Josh Schriver from staff and a committee position on Monday, days after Schriver posted a racist conspiracy theory online.

Schriver sparked fury last week when he shared a social media post of an image captioned: “The Great Replacement!” The image referenced the far-right conspiracy theory that non-white immigrants are deliberately brought to majority-white countries to undermine white political power and culture.

Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate (D) announcement sanctions Monday morning and accused Schriver of promoting a “sustained campaign of racist rhetoric and hate speech.” Schriver doubled down on his message Monday evening, denying that sharing the image was racist.

“I am not (and never have been) racist,” Schriver wrote. “I therefore cannot make false political apologies for opinions that I do not share.”

Schriver and Tate did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.

Schriver, who was elected in November 2022 to represent parts of Macomb and Oakland counties in the 66th Michigan House District, will be removed from his position on the Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and of the House Outdoor Recreation, although he can still vote on the House floor, Tate announced. Staff in Schriver's office will be reassigned.

Schriver's two-year term ends in January 2025.

Tate said he punished Schriver to ensure the safety and security of House staff.

“Representative Schriver has a history of promoting debunked theories and dangerous rhetoric that endanger the safety of Michigan residents and contribute to a hostile and uncomfortable environment for others,” Tate said.

Schriver's “great replacement theory,” once a fringe term widely associated with white nationalists, has slowly entered the political mainstream after being increasingly adopted by Republican politicians to stoke fears about immigration, l election integrity and border security. The conspiracy theory has inspired horrific violence in recent years, and mass shooters — particularly in Buffalo and El Paso — have cited it as a reason for targeting communities of color.

Schriver shared a crude illustration of the conspiracy theory on Tuesday, depicting a world map with small groups of white figures in North America, Europe and Australia surrounded by black figures elsewhere.

Politicians on both sides criticized the posts. Tate and two Republican colleagues, Rep. Donni Steele and the senator. John Damoose released statements condemning the post as racist. They were joined by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II (D).

“The abhorrent rhetoric pushed by a member of the Michigan House of Representatives goes against our state and our national values,” Whitmer said in a statement. statement. “We have a moral obligation to speak out against hatred.”

As Schriver's colleagues spoke, he seemed to reaffirm his invocation. “What did I tweet that was wrong?” he wrotealleging in follow-up messages that the denunciations against him were signs of an “anti-white agenda.”

Schriver continued to post about the conspiracy theory Monday evening.

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