Republican lawmaker punished for ‘great replacement’ social media post

Michigan Representative Josh Schriver’s staff was reassigned and he was removed from a House committee as punishment for sharing a social media post that included a racist conspiracy theory, the state’s House speaker announced on Monday.

Michigan Representative Josh Schriver had his staff reassigned and was removed from a House of Representatives committee as punishment for sharing a social media post that included a racist conspiracy theory, the state’s House speaker…

Michigan House of Representatives

House Speaker Joe Tate, Democrat from Detroit, said in a statement that the decision had been made to take away Schriver’s staff and remove him from the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Committee over a social media post the representative shared last week. As part of the punishment, resources that are usually made available to state legislators will be withheld from Schriver by the House Business Office, according to the statement by Tate’s office.

Schriver, a Republican who represents Michigan’s 66th House District, will still be able to “fulfill his responsibility as a representative” by being able to vote in the House of Representatives, the speaker’s office said.

The Republican, who was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2022, came under fire after he shared a post on X, formerly Twitter, from right-wing commentator Jack Posobiec.

The X post, which was shared by Schriver on February 6, contained a graphic with the text “The great replacement!” and showed a world map with white human figures over the U.S., Europe and Australia and black human figures across the rest of the map.

Supporters of “The Great Replacement Theory” believe there is a conspiracy underway that aims to replace white Americans with immigrants and people of color. The so-called replacement theory has inspired recent violence, including the 2022 supermarket mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, the 2019 mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a 2018 mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Newsweek reached out via email on Monday night to Schriver and Tate for comment.

Schriver defended the controversial post on X, posting on the social media platform dozens of times since the content was shared.

In one post on February 9, Schriver wrote: “I denounce attempts by the media to start a race war. Can you imagine anything more cringe? Aside from Democrats allowing Satanists to feature pagan idols at the Michigan Capitol…”

In a subsequent post from that day, the representative wrote that he was being attacked over an “anti-white agenda.”

“President Trump, Tucker Carlson, and Elon Musk (@elonmusk) have all been attacked for tweeting about what’s called the great replacement theory,” he wrote. “Now I’m attacked for simply reading/retweeting a tweet by @JackPosobiec on the same topic. There is an anti-white agenda for sure. #ContentOfCharacter”.

His posts on X ignited a wave of criticism, with lawmakers from both political parties condemning Schriver for “promoting” conspiracy theories.

In the statement on Monday announcing Schriver’s punishment, Tate blasted the Republican lawmaker.

“I will not allow the Michigan House of Representatives to be a forum for the proliferation of racist, hateful and bigoted speech,” the speaker 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.”

The speaker first spoke out against Schriver on February 8, accusing him of using social media to “advocate for a debunked and dangerous theory embraced by white nationalists and referenced by individuals responsible for crimes motivated by bias and hate.”

Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer blamed Republican leadership for Schriver’s “racist social media posts.”

“The abhorrent rhetoric pushed by a member of the Michigan House of Representatives goes against our state and national values,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We have a moral obligation to speak out against hatred. It is a failure of leadership for this kind of action to take place unchecked by the leaders of Rep. Schriver’s caucus, and the longer there is no action taken, the more responsibility leadership bears.”

Across the aisle, Republican lawmakers also decried Schriver’s actions on social media.

Schriver’s colleague, Republican Representative Donni Steele, released a statement criticizing his social media content.

“All people have a moral obligation to speak out against hate whenever it rears its ugly head – this is one of those times,” Steele said in an online statement. “As elected officials, we are the voice for our communities. We are held to a higher standard and must answer to all comments we make, including any and all social media posts. Hateful rhetoric goes against everything I believe and distracts from the positive work we’re trying to accomplish for the people of Michigan.”

Republican state Senator John Damoose condemned Schriver’s actions on Sunday in a lengthy Facebook post.

“I read with great horror yesterday a report of a Michigan state legislator advancing overtly cruel and racist ideas,” Damoose said. “I am sad to say this was a state representative who claims to be a member of my own Republican Party. But, let us be clear, his sickening words have nothing to do with the ideals we claim to uphold as Americans or conservatives.”

Damoose said in the post that he condemns “in the harshest of terms” Schriver’s comments on social media and “the whole offensive idea of ‘The Great Replacement.’

The senator urged Republicans to “take the lead in this issue.”