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Trump is driving white nationalism. Biden needs to say so.

The president needs to be far more pointed in calling out how the Republican Party props up and even promotes white supremacists.

In a commencement address delivered at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, President Joe Biden correctly deemed white supremacy “the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland.” He was quick to add that he wasn’t saying this just because he was speaking at a historically Black university. “I say it wherever I go,” he added.

Biden is right to highlight the threat from violent white supremacists, who federal law enforcement agencies say “promote accelerationist thinking, which advocates committing violence to precipitate a large-scale conflict often framed as a race war” in order to establish a “white ethnostate.” These extremists pose immediate danger to American lives, as we have seen far too many times, most recently in the horrific mass shooting at a Texas mall.

But it is not enough for Biden to talk about white supremacist violence. As he hits the campaign trail in earnest, Biden needs to be far more pointed in calling out how the Republican Party props up and even promotes white supremacists, who threaten our democracy from within.

It’s easy to find GOP lawmakers echoing Trump’s enabling of white supremacy.

At Howard, Biden quoted former President Donald Trump’s claim that there were “very fine people” at the notorious 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. But he didn’t name his likely 2024 rival, the biggest culprit in bringing white supremacists out of the shadows over the past eight years. As president, he hired staffers sympathetic to white nationalism, embraced some of their causes and espoused racist views. The men and women who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, included white nationalists like the Proud Boys, whom Trump had asked before the election to “stand back and stand by.” Unsurprisingly, Trump hasn’t moderated his views since losing his bid for re-election. Last year, for instance, he hosted the Hitler-admiring white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago.

In his speech, Biden also declined to identify the Republican Party — even though it’s easy to find GOP lawmakers echoing Trump’s enabling of white supremacy. Just this week, new reporting from Talking Points Memo reveals that Rep. Paul Gosar, the far-right Arizona Republican, employs a close associate of Fuentes as digital director in his Capitol Hill office. “The revelation that a devotee of Fuentes appears to have infiltrated a congressional office represents a previously unknown and unseen degree of influence for the modern white supremacist movement,” TPM reports. Fuentes’ “open embrace of Nazism and usage of racial epithets is extreme even within this alt-right movement.” (Neither NBC News nor MSNBC have independently confirmed the report.)

These allegations, though disturbing, are less surprising when considered in light of Gosar’s history of elevating Fuentes. A vociferous booster of the stolen election lie and associated conspiracy theories, Gosar was the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Fuentes’ America First organization held the month after the Jan. 6 insurrection, which Fuentes has called “awesome.”

According to The Arizona Republic, Gosar promoted the trailer for a documentary that portrayed Fuentes as a victim of law enforcement. “The persecution against Christians and Conservatives by the Biden Regime brings great dishonor to our country,” Gosar wrote at the time on Twitter, falsely suggesting that a corrupted law enforcement was targeting the right based on their religious beliefs. (According to the Anti-Defamation League, Fuentes and his “Groyper” followers “attempt to normalize their ideology by aligning themselves with ‘Christianity’ and ‘traditional’ values championed by the church, including marriage and family.”)

In 2022, when Democrats still controlled the House, the body voted to censure Gosar and remove him from his committee assignments after he tweeted a video depicting him murdering Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He ran unopposed for re-election, and the new Republican majority earlier this year reinstated him to committee assignments, including a position on the powerful oversight committee. With House Speaker Kevin McCarthy feeling beholden to the far right of his caucus, it’s unlikely Gosar will face any consequences for his actions.

Many Trump Republicans view themselves as engaged in a struggle for white supremacy.

It’s tempting to dismiss Gosar as an outlier, but the truth is an alarming segment of elected Republicans refuse to address the problem or are appallingly ignorant of it. Gosar’s far-right colleague, Marjorie Taylor Greene, spoke at Fuentes’ 2022 conference, then attempted to claim she did not know him. The 26 Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee refused to sign a two-sentence statement denouncing white nationalism and white supremacy in March, after multiple members characterized the migrant crisis as an “invasion."

And last week, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., told Birmingham, Alabama’s NPR affiliate that white nationalists, whom he called “patriots,” should be allowed to serve in the military, which he insists is hobbled by liberal policies. When pressed by reporters on Capitol Hill about the comments, Tuberville said, “You think a white nationalist is a Nazi? I don’t look at it like that. I look at a white nationalist as a Trump Republican,” or “a MAGA person.”

The popularity, despite his recent firing, of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and his support for the great replacement theory, sadly shows that Tuberville may be right: Many Trump Republicans view themselves as engaged in a struggle for white supremacy. The conspiracy theory does, after all, have a long history with the American conservative movement. Its adherents were already present in the last Trump administration — most notably, adviser Stephen Miller — and will likely return even stronger should Trump return to the White House.

That’s why Biden should use his bully pulpit to highlight the lines from the Republican Party to white supremacists, and to present Americans with the unvarnished truth about what GOP leaders have allowed their party to become. Sidelining extremists requires more than mild denunciations. As Tuberville, McCarthy and others show, too many Republicans see white nationalists as a force they can’t reject, or even a bloc to be cultivated. Clarifying the stakes by centralizing white supremacy in the coming election remains the best chance at convincing voters they need to hold the GOP accountable for its radicalization.