Conservative firebrand Candace Owens was back at it again, raising eyebrows during her testimony on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism.”
Owens, known for her controversial and misinformed takes, claimed that Democrats’ concern of the rise of hate crimes and white supremacy is all a “preview of a Democrat 2020 election strategy,” as USA Today reports.
“Let me be clear, the hearing today is not about white nationalism or hate crimes, it’s about fear-mongering, power and control,” she said.
All of this despite the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center, in its latest report, marked the fourth straight year of hate group grown within the United States, and actually pointed to Republican President Donald Trump as a partial reason why “the flames of white resentment” continue to flare – particularly over issues like immigration.
White nationalist groups alone saw a nearly 50% jump from last year, growing from 100 chapters in 2017 to 148 in 2018.
But it’s all in our mind, and part of Democrat tactics to keep Black voters under their thumb, to hear Owens tell it.
And, as USA Today also notes, back in November the FBI released its own report showing a 17% increase in hate crimes between 2016 and 2017, although the bureau did emphasize that the number of law enforcement agencies reporting the data has also increased.
Owens claimed that Democrats “simply changed the data set points by widening the definition of hate crimes” and are “manipulating statistics.
But back to the question as to why Owens was actually there. She was invited to testify by Judiciary Committee Republicans, and staked her claim to the space, noting that she had been a victim of a hate crime as a high school student.
The communications director of Turning Point USA, which aims to organize college students, and a staunch advocate of Black citizens voting Republican, Owens also took the time to call the Ku Klux Klan a “Democrat terrorist organization,” again reiterating the point that the left was using scare tactics to pick up votes.
“There isn’t a single adult today that in good conscience would make the argument that America is a more racist or white nationalist society than it was when my grandfather was growing up,” she said. (Owens’ grandfather sat behind her in the hearing). “And yet we’re hearing these terms sent around today because what they want to say is that brown people need to be scared, which seems to be the narrative that we hear every four years right ahead of a presidential election.”
Many Democrats were not impressed by Owens’ presence, pointing out to her own controversies, including statements she made about Adolph Hitler.
“In congressional hearings, the minority party gets to select its own witnesses. And of all the people Republicans could have selected, they picked Candace Owens,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said.
“I don’t know Ms. Owens, I’m not going to characterize her, I’m going to let her own words do the talking,” he added, playing a clip of the remarks that lit social media afire.
“If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay fine. Problem is he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize,” Owens said in the played clip, explaining why she thinks “nationalism” is fine while “globalism” is bad.
Owen lashed back out at Lieu.
“I think it’s pretty apparent that Mr. Lieu believes that black people are stupid and will not pursue the full clip … That was unbelievably dishonest … I’m deeply offended by the insinuation of revealing that clip without the question that was asked of me,” Owens said,
But some of Owens’ comments during her testimony was not only controversial (and directly partisan), it was scarily revisonist.
At one point, Owens wrongly stated that the Southern strategy, where Republicans never trie to pick up white votes in the South by using race to drive their cause, never happened.
Black conservatives, she insisted, are targeted for having “the audacity to think for themselves and become educated about our history and the myth of things like the Southern switch, the Southern strategy, which never happened.”
That particular comment drew a lot of attention, especially given that, as the Washington Post notes, Ken Mehlman, who served as the Republican National Committee chairman, essentially apologized for the strategy during the 2005 NAACP national convention.
“Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong,” he said at the time.
Owens’ comments even drew the attention of filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who effectively put an end to the argument by sharing a clip of 13th the documentary she directed, where she plays a damning interview featuring political scientist Lee Atwater.
In the interview, Atwater is heard explaining the evolution of the strategy as going from overt, trackable (and condemnable) racism into the creation of fiscal policies where “Blacks get hurt worse than whites.”
“Let me go ahead and leave this right here for folks confused about the uninformed mess that someone named Candace Owens is trying to pass off as truth,” DuVernay tweeted. “In fact, it’s just white nationalist revisionist garbage. The Southern Strategy goes as follows. And the marathon continues.