Stacey Plaskett’s ‘How Dare You?’ Indictment Demolished a Dog-Whistling Republican

Stacey Plaskett’s ‘How Dare You?’ Indictment Demolished a Dog-Whistling Republican

Stacey Plaskett’s ‘How Dare You?’ Indictment Demolished a Dog-Whistling Republican

After Glenn Grothman claimed advocates for Black lives don’t like “the old-fashioned family,” Plaskett gave him no quarter.


House Republicans trotted out every argument they could think of in a failed final effort to block approval of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package. But, in the case of Wisconsin’s Glenn Grothman, there wasn’t much thinking going on.

The representative simply defaulted into crude racial dog-whistling, causing jaws to drop in a chamber that has heard more than its share of prejudiced pontificating. Grothman’s remarks on Wednesday drew an immediate rebuke from Delegate Stacey Plaskett, (D-V.I.), who earned applause for a searing indictment of the Wisconsinite.

Plaskett’s takedown of her conservative colleague confirmed the former House impeachment manager’s status as one of the chamber’s most witheringly effective debaters. It also highlighted the vital importance of a measure that seeks to address immediate pain and historic injustice.

Republican attacks on the American Rescue Plan during Wednesday’s debate were, for the most part, predictable. The critique was summed up by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia newcomer who is often characterized as the House Republican Caucus’s most outrageous member, when she dismissed President Biden’s proposal to respond to a pandemic and the economic devastation that has extended from it as the $1.9 trillion “massive woke progressive Democrat wish list.”

But Grothman went to extremes that even Greene avoided.

“First, one of the things that hasn’t been mentioned, the increase in the earned income tax credit for single people has a marriage penalty in it. I bring it up because I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family,” said the congressman, who claimed to be “disturbed that we have another program here in which we’re increasing the marriage penalty.”

Grothman’s allegation about Black Lives Matter was itself so disturbing that it prompted an immediate outcry. Radio host Dean Obeidallah declared, “The GOP does Not even hide its racism.” Wisconsin Ethics Commission member Scot Ross labeled Grothman a “racist prick.”

Grothman, who in the past has called for excluding public employees from observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and claimed that Kwanzaa is not a “real holiday,” was not finished.

“Second thing,” he declared, “we have loan forgiveness on farms based on ethnicity. OK. Some people are going to get forgiveness. Some people aren’t. I think that’s incredibly divisive. I think we started out with a divisive inaugural speech right off the bat. And to go down this route is only going to create divisiveness in America.”

Grothman’s apparent attack on an initiative designed to address historic discrimination against Black farmers, in combination with his “doesn’t like the old-fashioned family” claptrap, led veteran broadcaster Soledad O’Brien to tweet, “Racist dude who is an elected official. Call this crap out when you see it.”

That’s exactly what Stacey Plaskett did. The delegate from the Virgin Islands, who as an impeachment manager delivered an indictment of Donald Trump that riveted the nation, had been planning to talk about the merits of the measure. But the former US Department of Justice lawyer put aside her prepared remarks and proceeded to prosecute Grothman for infusing the debate with intolerance.

As the Republican walked away, Plaskett said, “I hope my colleague from Wisconsin will not leave at this time, as he’s talked about Black Lives Matter. How dare you? How dare you say that Black Lives Matter, Black people do not understand old-fashioned families? Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward that I’ve heard out of your mouth in the Oversight Committee, in your own district, we have been able to keep our families alive for over 400 years.”

Plaskett spoke passionately about “the assault on our families to not have Black lives, or not even have Black families.”

“How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the Black community?” she declared. “That is outrageous—that should be stricken down.”

The delegate’s urgent extemporaneous remarks transfixed the chamber. “I was going to talk about the American Rescue Plan. We know that this is going to provide relief to not only Black lives, Black Americans, but all Americans, that we are interested in children and in their welfare, and at this time I yield back.”

Members erupted in applause as she concluded.

Shortly thereafter, the relief measure was approved on a 220-211 vote.

Grothman, of course, voted “no.”

Plaskett was not permitted to vote. That’s because elected delegates from the Virgin Islands, an “unincorporated” United States territory that is home to more than 105,000 US citizens primarily of Afro-Caribbean descent, are not allowed to participate in House roll calls.

But Stacey Plaskett was heard on Wednesday—loud and clear.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy