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GOP lawmaker claims KKK is ‘the military wing of the Democratic Party’ in closed door meeting ahead of antisemitism hearing

<i>Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call

By Annie Grayer, CNN

Washington (CNN) — GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said in a closed door briefing with lawmakers on Tuesday that the Ku Klux Klan is the “the military wing of the Democratic party” and that migrants coming to the US “have no interest in being Americans,” according to audio of Perry’s comments shared with CNN.

Perry, a right-wing Republican who has repeated elements of the anti-immigrant and antisemitic replacement theory before, said this during the House Oversight Committee’s member briefing entitled “the Origins and Implications of Rising Antisemitism in Higher Education.”

The briefing comes ahead of the Oversight panel’s hearing on Wednesday about the District of Columbia’s response to the pro-Palestinian protests and encampments occurring on college campuses, as House Republicans attempt to crack down on the demonstrations making waves across the country and attempt to unify around a firm position against antisemitism. That hearing was canceled Wednesday morning after the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, cleared out a pro-Palestinian encampment on George Washington University’s campus early Wednesday and arrested 30 protesters there and three others in a separate altercation, Metro Police Chief Pamela A. Smith said.

“The KKK in modern times, a lot of young people think somehow it’s a right-wing organization when it is the military wing of the Democratic Party. Decidedly, unabashedly, racist and antisemitic,” Perry said according to the recording.

The KKK is not affiliated in any way with the modern Democratic Party.

Perry then defended replacement theory, which is the idea that white people are being slowly and intentionally replaced by minorities and immigrants.

“Replacement theory is real” Perry said according to the recording shared with CNN. “They added white to it to stop everybody from talking about it.”

While Perry said he is happy to accept people “that are here legally,” pointing to his ancestors who migrated to the US, he has an issue with migrants that are “un-American.”

“What is happening now is we’re importing people into the country that want to be in America … but have no interest in being Americans, and that’s very different and to disparage the comments is to chill the conversation so that we can continue to bring in more people that we never met that are un-American,” Perry said, according to the recording.

Perry claimed his words were twisted when presented with his closed-door remarks.

“Once again, the radical Left twists facts in order to silence conversation about its own crimes and Biden’s intentional failures to enforce laws and close or regulate our borders. My point is proven yet again: when the Left loses an argument, it debases and smears instead of engaging in debate on merits,” Perry said in a statement provided to CNN.

Replacement theory is the idea that white people are being slowly and intentionally replaced by minorities and immigrants. The xenophobic and racist rhetoric associated with the theory has found its way into the mainstream of American politics and elements of it appear to have motivated some of the most heinous recent mass murders in the US and around the world. There are specific antisemitic elements of the unfounded theory as well, that Jews specifically are organizing a flood of non-white immigrants.

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