“Anglo-Saxon” May Not Have Been the Best Branding for Marjorie Taylor Greene’s New Caucus – By Ben Mathis-Lilley (Slate) / April 20 2021
Late last week, Punchbowl News reported that Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar were about to launch something called the “America First Caucus” for Republican members of Congress who want to “follow in President Trump’s footsteps.” In a strategic sense this was a good idea; Republican politics is still gravitationally attracted to Trump even though he mostly doesn’t do anything, and while there is already a hard-right, Trumpist “Freedom Caucus,” there was an opening for a self-branded group to tie itself even more closely to his name and catchphrases. Embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, two clownish House guys whose instincts are good proxies for the instincts of the Republican primary electorate, said immediately that they’d be interested in joining.
Punchbowl’s scoop noted that a memo that was being circulated about the caucus’s goals cited the purported importance of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” to the America that is to be put First. Given that nonhistorians usually understand Anglo-Saxon to just mean white, and that Gaetz, Gohmert, Gosar, and Greene aren’t known for their interest in the anthropology of the British Isles, members of the press and public surmised that America First was going to be an openly white nationalist faction.
This appears to be what Republican leaders believed as well, because House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP conference chair Liz Cheney both obliquely criticized the idea immediately, then did whatever it is that’s done to atom-bomb these kinds of things behind the scenes, to the point that Greene was issuing a statement on Saturday denouncing “liars and psychotic left wing communists in the media” for suggesting she had any connection to the caucus, or interest in endorsing it. (This despite her own spokesman having said proudly the previous day that the “America First Caucus platform” would be “announced to the public very soon.”) The America First Caucus is, for now, dead.