Conservative Group Focused on Tradition04/17 10:33
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hard-right House Republicans on Friday were discussing
forming an America First Caucus, which one document described as championing
"Anglo-Saxon political traditions" and warning that mass immigration was
putting the "unique identity" of the U.S. at risk.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the paper, which was first reported
by Punchbowl News, a news outlet covering Capitol Hill. The AP could not
independently confirm the organization's origins or current status, but Rep.
Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said he was joining and indicated that fellow conservative
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., was behind it.
The document was being circulated as the GOP is struggling to determine a
clear direction as it prepares to try winning back control of the House and
Senate in the 2022 elections. Among the party's divisions are how closely to
tack behind Donald Trump, and the caucus' seven-page policy platform clearly
embraces the former president's world view.
"The America First Caucus (AFC) exists to promote Congressional policies
that are to the long-term benefit of the American nation," it begins. It says
the group aims to "follow in President Trump's footsteps, and potentially step
on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation."
The group calls for limiting legal immigration "to those that can contribute
not only economically, but have demonstrated respect for this nation's culture
and rule of law." It voices support for infrastructure "that reflects the
architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of
In a striking criticism, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.,
issued a tweet that an aide confirmed was aimed at the group.
"America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is
earned through honest, hard work. It isn't built on identity, race, or
religion," McCarthy wrote. "The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the
party of more opportunity for all Americans -- not nativist dog whistles."
No. 3 House GOP leader Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., tweeted: "We teach our children
the values of tolerance, decency and moral courage. Racism, nativism, and
anti-Semitism are evil. History teaches we all have an obligation to confront &
reject such malicious hate."
Cheney voted to impeach Trump in January and has been under fire from some
of the party's most far-right lawmakers and the former president.
Punchbowl said the group was linked to Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
Over GOP objections, the House voted to remove Greene from her committee
assignments early this year for her recycling of violent, conspiratorial ideas
on social media.
Asked to describe Greene's role in the effort and other questions, the
congresswoman's spokesman, Nick Dyer, said, "This document pushed by Punchbowl
was never approved or agreed to by Congresswoman Greene."
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told reporters he was considering joining the
caucus and said, "Yes," when asked if Greene and Gosar were involved with it.
Gaetz tweeted: "I'm proud to join @mtgreenee in the #AmericaFirst Caucus. We
will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to
American workers." Gaetz is facing a federal investigation for sex trafficking
accusations, according to people who have described the probe on condition of
The document aims some of its toughest language at immigration. President
Joe Biden's administration has struggled to handle large numbers of migrants at
the Southwest border and has had little success winning legislation in Congress.
"America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common
respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions," the paper says.
"History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when
foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country."
It adds that "the long-term existential future of America as a unique
country with a unique culture and a unique identity being put at unnecessary
risk is something our leaders" cannot ignore.
The document espouses Trump's false claims that "recent election results
demonstrate a compromised integrity of our elections." It proposes curbing high
technology firms that are "weaponized and deployed against conservatives" and
lambasts steps against the pandemic like mandates for masks, social distancing
and lockdowns for "conditioning the culture and behavior of Americans" and
destroying the economy.
It says "better waste management" would be more helpful for the environment
than Paris Climate Accord efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.