Rep. Byron Donalds, a Black Republican, unloaded on Democrats on Tuesday after they tweeted that worrying about border security was a “white nationalist conspiracy,” challenging them to say that to his face.
The tweet was issued by the official Democratic account for the House Oversight and Accountability Committee just ahead of a hearing with two senior Border Patrol agents on the chaos at the southern border. The Democrats said the Republicans who organized the hearing were “using today’s hearing to amplify white nationalist conspiracy theories instead of a comprehensive solution to protect our borders and strengthen our immigration system.”
Mr. Donalds challenged them on the assertion.
“I’m not doing that. So if you feel that strongly, come walk over to this side of the room and let’s talk about it face to face. But leave that kind of silly stuff for somebody else. Don’t bring that here today. This stuff is serious,” the Florida Republican said.
No Democrat accepted his invitation, though the tweet remained posted.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland is the top Democrat on the committee and his staff controls the account.
One Republican challenged other Democrats to publicly disavow the contents of the tweet.
But as the hearing progressed, Democrats said they had their evidence of White nationalism when Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican, said Mr. Biden’s answer to the border chaos was “more big brother, more control, even changing our culture.”
“I understand what he’s trying to say,” said Rep. Maxwell Frost, Florida Democrat. “But I believe that immigrants are American and thus part of American culture.”
Rep. Greg Casar, Texas Democrat, also complained that Republicans called the border situation an “invasion.”
Mr. Gosar responded by saying he stands by his remarks.
“Illegal immigration changes our culture of law and order,” he said in a statement after the hearing. “We have a lawful process for immigration. Millions of people have immigrated here lawfully. But in the last two years, six million illegal aliens have violated our laws, and are changing our culture based on the Rule of Law.”
He pointed to news this week from a hospital in his Arizona district that is facing severe financial struggles because of the illegal immigrants it is required to treat, with no compensation. Meanwhile, the hospital turns away citizens, including pregnant women, he said.
“I stand by my remarks. Illegal aliens alter our culture in a negative way,” he said. “My colleague on the committee spoke about legal immigration being a part of our culture. And with that, I agree. But I part ways with them on illegal immigration.”