Rep. Perry pushes 'replacement theory' during committee hearing

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Incumbent congressman Scott Perry talks to the media while before voting at the polls at Monaghan Presbyterian Church in Dillsburg Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Perry is defending his seat against Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. Bill Kalina photo

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry on Wednesday repeated a controversial talking point largely viewed as racist that insinuates that Americans are being "replaced" by immigrants.

The Carroll Township Republican's comments came during a hearing held by a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss immigration from Central America.

“For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is, what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born Americans, native-born Americans to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation," Perry said.

After The Washington Post highlighted Perry's comments, Twitter users berated Perry for what they called racist rhetoric.

"USA is a melting pot of human beings who bring a rich cultural diversity to our society. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Rep Perry’s pointy white hat is showing," one Twitter user wrote.

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Perry's office did not respond to requests for comment.

But the remarks aligned with the widely condemned comments made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on April 8, when he criticized Democrats for looking down on the phrase "replacement."

"I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term 'replacement,' if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World," Carlson said. "But they become hysterical because that's what's happening actually. Let's just say it: That's true."

Shortly after Carlson's commentary aired, the Anti-Defamation League called for him to be fired, a demand that Fox Corp. chief executive Lachlan Murdoch rejected.

"Given his long record of race-baiting, we believe it is time for Carlson to go," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

The replacement theory that is often referenced by white supremacists was popularized in 2011, when French philosopher Renaud Camus coined the term "great replacement," according to Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank that focuses on extremism.

Camus has argued that European civilization is at risk due to mass migration. 

The assertion that certain ethnic groups are replacing the white population has also been at the forefront of far-right rallies in the United States in recent years.

One of the most prominent examples occurred in 2017, when white men wielding tiki torches chanted "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Perry, a five-term Republican, has a history of making controversial remarks about race.

Speaking at the Rotary Club of York in September, Perry alleged that systemic racism doesn't exist and there is "more to the story" of George Floyd's death.

Floyd died in May after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

Chauvin is currently on trial, charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.