Michigan House Speaker strips anti-LGBTQ+ state Rep. of staff

Michigan Speaker of the House Joe Tate at the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Office of the Michigan Speaker of the House)

LANSING, Mich. | Michigan Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit) took action Feb. 12 against state Rep. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) after Schriver’s sustained campaign of racist rhetoric and hate speech on social media.

Schriver has also previously railed against the LGBTQ+ community in his social media posts in addition to the white supremacist posts.

Schriver had reposted on his X (formerly Twitter) a meme posted by far-right commentator Jack Posobiec, who has widely been known to distort facts and has collaborated with white supremacists, neo-fascists and antisemites for years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch investigators.

Posobiec has targeted the LGBTQ+ community often using a slur to refer to transgender Americans. Posobiec has also promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and has espoused QAnon theories, which regularly accuse LGBTQ+ politicians, Democrats, Hollywood and LGBTQ+ political allies of sexually abusing kids.

“Jack Posobiec’s extensive ties to white supremacists should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who hasn’t made the connection between Trump’s MAGA movement and hate,” said Michael Edison Hayden, the SPLC senior investigative reporter.

In the post, Schriver had reposted (pictured below),  Posobiec’s meme depicted Black figures covering most of a map of the world, with white figures in small areas of Australia, Canada, northern Europe and the northern US. Underneath was the phrase “The Great Replacement.”

The map is not an accurate representation of global racial diversity.

The Great Replacement, also known as replacement theory or great replacement theory, is a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory first espoused by French author Renaud Camus in his 2011 book “Le Grand Replacement.” The American far-right white supremacist movement has used social media to spread this theory further while in most cases adding elements of antisemitism.

According to Camus and the adherents of this racist theory, the ethnic white populations at large are being demographically and culturally replaced by non-white peoples—especially from Muslim-majority countries—through mass migration, demographic growth and a drop in the birth rate of white people.

In 2017, the Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, from August 11–12, which included included members of the alt-right, neo-Confederates, neo-fascists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen and far-right militias, chanted “You will not replace us” and openly argued with counter-protestors advancing this racist theory.

For his part Schriver has been unrepentant leading to the actions taken by the Michigan House Speaker. In a statement released by his office last week on Feb. 8, Speaker Tate said:

“Representative Schriver’s blatantly racist social media post does not align with the values of the Michigan House of Representatives. It is difficult for me to understand why he would hold these beliefs as a representative of a diverse group of Michigan residents. 

“Furthermore, the fact that Representative Schriver would espouse a deplorable and false theory and contend it is worthy of consideration puts his ignorance on full display. But ignorance is no excuse for proliferating obvious hate.

“I urge Representative Schriver to do some worthwhile research on the accurate history of people of color in this country. He is clearly in need of knowledge rooted in fact and would greatly benefit from a better understanding of the vibrant communities and diverse people that make Michigan strong.

“Perhaps most disturbing is that his post uplifts a dangerous and tortured narrative that fosters violence and instability. His callous and reckless act is not within the spirit of what Michigan is, and it contributes to a hostile environment. His actions are a stark reminder of the importance of commemorating Black History Month to ensure we are true students of history and the racist laws and practices once in place in this country that we must continually guard against in order to ensure a bright future for generations.

“Representative Schriver has deeply and personally offended the Michigan House of Representatives.”

 After it became apparent that Schriver wasn’t going to back down, Speaker Tate decided to take further action.

“I will not allow the Michigan House of Representatives to be a forum for the proliferation of racist, hateful and bigoted speech,” Tate said. “Representative Schriver has a history of promoting debunked theories and dangerous rhetoric that jeopardizes the safety of Michigan residents and contributes to a hostile and uncomfortable environment for others. The House of Representatives is the people’s house, and all Michiganders should look upon this body and take pride in how we conduct ourselves. It is also a workplace, and I have a responsibility to make sure the employees of the House feel safe and secure.” 

Tate ordered withholding the office expenses allotment for Schriver, and then also had his staff reassigned. Schriver will be removed from the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee, and the resources typically made available to a representative will be held by the House Business Office. 

In the statement by the Speaker’s office it noted that “such resources are provided at the discretion and pleasure of the Speaker.” It added that Schriver will fulfill his responsibility as a representative through his ability to cast a vote in the House of Representatives.

In a statement Feb. 8 to The Detroit News, Schriver said he loved “all of God’s offspring” and believed “everyone’s immense value is rooted in the price Christ paid on the Cross when he died for our sins.”

“I’m opposed to racists, race baiters, and victim politics,” Schriver said in the statement. “What I find strange is the agenda to demoralize and reduce the white portion of our population. That’s not inclusive and Christ is inclusive! I’m glad Tucker Carlson and Jack Posobiec are sharing links so I can continue my research on these issues.”

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer condemned Schriver and took the Republican leaders to task over their failure in not condemning Schriver’s social media content.

“It is a failure of leadership for this kind of action to take place unchecked by the leaders of Representative Schriver’s caucus, and the longer there is no action taken, the more responsibility leadership bears,” the governor said.

Even as the House Speaker took action stripping him of his staff and committee assignments, Schriver posted another racist meme from Posobiec, this time targeting Whitmer accusing the governor of fostering “replacement” politics.

On Feb. 14, Schriver responded defending his racist viewpoints in a unapologetic statement.

The National LGBT Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: NationalLGBTMediaassociation.com.

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