WASHINGTON — Black conservative Candace Owens is defending her appearance Tuesday as a witness at a House Judiciary hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism.”
“I would imagine that every black person in America would be an expert on the topic of whether or not white supremacy is an issue in this country,” Owens, the 29-year-old communications director for Turning Point USA, told The Post after the hearing. “Certainly, more of an expert than any of the white counterparts that were sitting on the panel.”
Four of the committee’s eight witnesses were black.
But the crux of Owens’ testimony was that white supremacy isn’t as big a problem as other issues facing the black community. “Among them, fatherless absence in our community and abortion,” she said.
She also argued that the reporting of hate crimes is up and the definition has been broadened. “I’m not denying there’s an uptick, what I’m saying is there can be another explanation as to why and we should welcome that healthy dialogue,” Owens said.
She said she believed that Democrats, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), are drumming up the issue for political gain.
“Yes, 100 percent, at the core of this hearing it was just another anti-Trump rally,” she said. Publicizing white nationalism and hate crimes is a political tactic, Owens said, to “create fear amongst minority voters” so they’ll stick with the Democratic Party.
Owens, a popular provocateur on YouTube, was invited to testify on the panel of experts by the Republicans on the committee.
While there, she spat fire at Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who questioned her expertise. Lieu did so by playing a clip of Owens muttering one of her biggest gaffes, when she tried to explain why Nazi leader Adolf Hitler wasn’t a “nationalist,” saying that if he wanted to “make Germany great and have things run well — OK, fine.”
“Of all the people Republicans could have selected, they picked Candace Owens,” Lieu said. “I’m going to let her own words do the talking,” before putting his phone up to the microphone and playing the Hitler clip.
Owens blasted Lieu — earning praise via Twitter from Donald Trump Jr. and a scolding, in person, from Nadler.
“I think it’s pretty apparent that Mr. Lieu thinks that black people are stupid and will not pursue the full clip in its entirety,” Owens said. “[Hitler] was a homicidal, psychopathic maniac that killed his own people. A nationalist would not kill their own people.”
In her interview with The Post, she called Lieu’s move a “tremendous act of cowardice” and an “embarrassment to Democrats.”
But Owens was also mocked for saying that the “Southern Strategy,” the well-documented move of the Republican Party to win white Southern voters after the advent of the civil rights movement, was a “myth.”
Owens told lawmakers that the “Southern switch … never happened.”
In 2005, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, went before the NAACP and apologized for the so-called Southern Strategy. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization,” Mehlman said. “I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
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