GOP Candidate Cites Great Replacement Beliefs, Calls Rep. Thompson ‘Treasonous’

a photo of Brian Flowers closeup
Brian Flowers, a Republican candidate for Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, claims on his website that Democrats “intend to overwhelm America with hordes of illegals in the same way Rome was overwhelmed centuries ago.” Though those views are linked to the anti-immigrant “great replacement theory” that originated in France, Flowers told the Mississippi Free Press on June 15, 2022, that he believes America is “a nation of immigrants.” Photo courtesy Brian Flowers campaign

Brian Flowers, a Republican hoping to displace Democratic U.S. House Rep. Bennie Thompson in Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, claims the incumbent is providing “treasonous assistance” in support of an “immigrant invasion.” 

“The future of America, your own personal future and that of your posterity depends on repelling the invasion and removing the traitors from their positions of power in public and private life,” the candidate’s website says.

Flowers, who will appear on the ballot in a June 28 Republican primary runoff against Ron Eller, also echoes elements of the so-called “Great Replacement Theory,” a conspiracy theory that right-wing media figures like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson often promote. Democrats and left-wingers “intend to overwhelm America with hordes of illegals in the same way Rome was overwhelmed centuries ago,” an article on Flowers’ website says.

In Carson’s telling, Democrats want to use immigration “to change the racial mix of the country” in order “reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the Third World.”

“In political terms, this policy is called ‘the great replacement’—the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries,” the Fox News host said in 2021. (Later, after the Buffalo, N.Y., white-supremacist shooter murdered 10 Black shoppers in a grocery store, citing a  belief in great replacement theory, Carlson claimed he was “not sure exactly what it is.”)

‘Your Family Might Not Survive’

In an interview with the Mississippi Free Press, Flowers said he “would kind of agree” with Carlson’s views.

“If you look at the sheer fact that (Democrats) are bringing all the illegal immigrants in, they have wanted for decades now to give them amnesty and let them become American citizens,” Flowers said. “You give those people citizenship now where they are allowed to vote, those people are going to be encouraged: ‘Remember what the Democrats did. They let you in. They got you amnesty.’”

Congressman Bennie Thompson and Border Patrol - Mississippi Free Press
U.S. House Rep. Bennie Thompson, seen here speaking with a U.S. Border Patrol agent in February 2019, has represented Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District since 1993. He is the state’s only Black or Democratic member of Congress. Photo courtesy U.S. House Rep. Bennie Thompson

Most mainstream Democrats support some form of a “pathway to citizenship” for some undocumented immigrants, but with limits and restrictions. Some experts say President Joe Biden’s immigration plans are stricter than a bill Republican President Ronald Reagan signed in 1986 that granted amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants.

The National Immigration Forum says that “the ‘great replacement theory’ states that welcoming immigration policies—particularly those impacting nonwhite immigrants—are part of a plot designed to undermine or ‘replace’ the political power and culture of white people living in Western countries.”

The organization’s website says that great replacement theory “often uses martial and violent rhetoric of a migrant ‘invasion’ that must be stopped before it ‘conquers’ ‘white America’” and that it also often “incorporates the inaccurate assumption that nonwhite immigrants will vote a certain way, and therefore pro-immigration policies are designed by elites to diminish the political influence of white Americans.”

French author Renaud Camus popularized the idea of a “great replacement” in his 2011 book, “Le Grand Remplacement,” with a focus on African-Muslim immigrants in France. He rewrote and published it in English in 2018 as “You Will Not Replace Us!”—the new title echoing a chant neo-Nazis and other white supremacists repeated at a deadly far-right march in Charlottesville, Va, on ADD DATE. Purveyors of the theory, also known as “white genocide,” often point to Greco-Roman antiquity as a warning.

On his website, Flowers’ campaign says “American culture cannot survive” an “onslaught” of immigrants.

“To say that you and your family might not survive such an onslaught is not an unreasonable assumption either, especially since the hordes are largely allied to the Biden regime–the epitome of the Deep State-Communist Axis,” the page says, invoking conspiracy theories about the “deep state”—a term Trump administration officials used to criticize damaging leaks and investigations during his presidency.

‘Will They Swarm Your Gated Community?’

On his website, Flowers’ campaign paints undocumented immigrants as violent disease carriers, with remarks similar to those Trump used to kick off his 2016 campaign.

“Among the many threats the illegals present, is the fact that many carry contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS, chicken pox, mumps and more. And then there are the perverts, rapists, murderers, and garden variety thugs, as if we didn’t have enough disgusting degenerates in America already,” the candidate writes.

In a 2018 report, however, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center For Humanitarian Health Director Dr. Paul Spiegel said that “there is no evidence to show that migrants are spreading disease.” The report found that immigrants play important roles in fighting infectious diseases and account for about 16% of all health care workers in the U.S., including 29% of physicians. Spiegel’s study found that poor conditions in refugee camps and immigrant detention centers can lead to the spread of infectious diseases, but “not migrants or migrants itself.”

Flowers’ website also cites fears of violence in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes the capital City of Jackson.

“In many cities in or near the Second District, there are areas where law enforcement dare not enter. The immigrant invasion is sure to make matters worse, sooner or later, and since the flow is unlikely to stop, unless people such as Brian Flowers are elected to Congress, the inner cities won’t be able to hold all those Biden-allied criminals,” his website says. 

“Will they come to your middle-class neighborhood? Will they swarm your gated community? Will they cruise your country road looking for targets of opportunity? You can bet they will!  Yes, your guns might stop a few if you’re home when they show up, but how many?”

In fact, studies show that first-generation immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, are far less likely to commit a violent crime than natural-born U.S. citizens.

‘A Nation of Immigrants’

Flowers told the Mississippi Free Press that members of his campaign team write the articles on his website. In his interview with the Mississippi Free Press, the candidate said he agrees with people across the political spectrum who describe the U.S. as “a nation of immigrants.”

“If an individual comes to America illegally then they should never have the right to vote in a federal election,” GOP congressional candidate Ron Eller said. “That would help eliminate the political motivation of any political party.”

“The bottom line is you have a right way and a wrong way to come into the country. The right way is through a port of entry, it’s not coming across a river. … We are all immigrants in some way shape or form and when we became a country we still allowed immigration to happen” he said. “Once we put laws and regulations in place and provided ports of entry, then the illegal immigration rules and regulations were put into effect.”

Flowers said he disagrees with proposals, like one 3rd Congressional District Republican candidate Michael Cassidy offers, to suspend all legal immigration for 10 years—a more extreme policy than even the Immigration Act of 1924, which severely restricted immigration, including all Asian immigrants, in the name of preserving American “homogeneity.”

“We should still allow legal immigrants that want to come in and make a good life for themselves. I don’t have a problem with that,” Flowers said. “As long as they come in and follow the rules, don’t commit egregious crimes, and are willing to work and earn what they get instead of asking for a handout, no, I don’t have a problem with keeping legal immigration going.”

Flower’s GOP runoff opponent, Ron Eller, told the Mississippi Free Press in a questionnaire that he also considers the U.S. “a nation of immigrants,” but wants tighter rules, with a “merit-based” immigration system that requires immigrants to “contribute to the nation rather than requiring a handout.”

“If an individual comes to America illegally then they should never have the right to vote in a federal election,” he said. “That would help eliminate the political motivation of any political party. If a child is born here in the USA to an illegal immigrant that child should be a citizen from the nation of the parents and not a US Citizen. That would help to eliminate chain migration.”

On his website, Eller said he wants to “build the wall now”; that elected officials who fail “to secure the border” should be removed from office for “dereliction of duty”; and that “any state, and/or local government that declares itself a sanctuary will devoid itself from any federal funding and aid.”

‘Treasonous Affairs’

Asked about his claim that Rep. Bennie Thompson is guilty of “treasonous” activity, Flowers noted that the incumbent is the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.

“The truth is, we have no idea who is coming across (the border). It could be a sleeper cell with Al Qaeda or another terrorist organization. It could be mom and pop with their son and daughter trying to come over and make a good living,” Flowers said. “Either way, they are coming over here illegally. They are flooding our borders. The federal government has sought to send supplies to them, medical assistance, at the taxpayers’ expense”

He pointed to the recent national infant formula shortage that occurred after several infants died, possibly due to contaminated formula, prompting major baby formula brands to issue a recall.

“They’re sending crates of baby formula down to the border instead of supplying it to the mothers here that need it, that are American citizens,” he said, referring to the U.S. government’s decision to continue providing nutrition to infants detained by border agents. “What should have happened is the border should have been shut down by Bennie Thompson as a form of national security. Those immigrants should be turned around and sent back to their home country—that should be our first order of business.

“And here’s where it could be looked at as treasonous affairs: If you are so blatant to let any and everybody in here because you believe that that’s what’s right and you don’t care about anything else, … if you have a terrorist organizations that gets in here and we have another 9/11, to me that is a dereliction of duty and it could be looked at as treason against the United States.”

Since the September 11 attacks, right-wing U.S. politicians have often invoked the idea that terrorists could enter the U.S. by crossing the border. But as the libertarian Cato Institute noted in 2021, “Zero people have been killed or injured in attacks on U.S. soil committed by terrorists who illegally crossed the Southwest border.” All 19 terrorists who commited the 9/11 attacks entered the country legally on temporary visas, not by illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

‘Political Prisoners’

Even as Flowers implies the incumbent, who is Mississippi’s only Black or Democratic member of Congress, may be guilty of treason, Flowers criticizes him for leading the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection. Thompson is the chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on January 6th that is examining the role Trump and other officials played in inciting the deadly assault.

On his website, Flowers claims Thompson’s committee is “trying to intimidate American patriots by persecuting hundreds of protestors that are being held as political prisoners since approximately January 6, 2021.”

Bennie Thompson sits in the House gallery while other members of Congress lie on the floors of the gallery or hide beneath their chairs during the insurrection
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6th Insurrection. Thompson, top right, sat in the House gallery on Jan. 6 where he and fellow members sheltered while rioters attempted to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

“Do I believe some were in the wrong? Yes, they should not have allowed themselves to get riled up to actually go into the Capitol the way they did,” Flowers said. “… I believe they are political prisoners because of the way the situation was stirred up into a hornet’s nest. That (was) a peaceful demonstration. … But when you get a crowd that size, it can get unruly real quick, and I don’t care what party that is.”

Flowers did not blame Trump for inciting the violence, however. He pointed to footage showing “police officers opening up the doors to the Capitol building” and said he believes “members of different organizations were infiltrated into that group to get that group riled up and to instigate the January 6th riot because up to that point everybody was just chanting and hooting and hollering and that was about that extent of it.”

After Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, some Republican officials spread conspiracy theories claiming that left-wing groups had infiltrated the protesters to incite the violence. There is no evidence for those claims, however, but the U.S. Justice Department has charged multiple members of far-right groups in its January 6th investigation, including leaders of the Oath Keepers militia and the Proud Boys.

Investigations into the 2021 assault are ongoing at the DOJ, where agents have arrested more than 840 people in connection with the attacks in all 50 states. DOJ says 305 individuals have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, and courts have found six individuals guilty at trial.

“I’m from a part of the country where people justified the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and lynching,” Thompson said during a January 6th hearing earlier this month. “I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try to justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021.”

Flowers and Eller on June 28 Ballot

All Mississippi primary runoffs are on June 28, 2022. Voters in the 2nd Congressional District are eligible to cast a ballot if they registered to vote by May 31. There is no party registration in Mississippi, and voters are eligible to vote in the GOP primary runoff even if they did not vote in the June 7 primaries. However, those who voted in the Democratic primary cannot vote in the GOP runoff.

When they arrive at the polls on June 7, voters must bring an acceptable form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, U.S. passport, government employee ID card, student ID from a state university or college, firearms license, tribal ID or a Mississippi Voter Identification Card. Information on how residents can obtain a free voter identification card from their local circuit clerk’s office is available here.

Secretary of State Michael Watson has urged voters to verify their vote registration is active by checking online at this link. More information on voting is available on the Secretary of State’s FAQ section and Voter Information Guide.

The winner of the 2nd Congressional District GOP runoff will face Rep. Bennie Thompson in the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

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