When it comes to the Green New Deal blueprint to address the climate crisis, Republicans generally like to pretend it calls for the elimination of hamburgers. (It does not.) But Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) went quite a bit further this week.
"For many people who live in the West, but also in rural and urban areas, the ideas behind the Green New Deal are tantamount to genocide," the Republican congressman said at a press conference. "That may be an overstatement, but not by a whole lot."
A reporter from Axios caught up with Bishop after the event to clarify matters a bit.
AXIOS: Genocide is defined as "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation." How is the Green New Deal like genocide?BISHOP: I'm an ethnic. I'm a westerner.AXIOS: And you think the Green New Deal is going to kill you?BISHOP: If you actually implement everything they want to. Killing would be positive if you implement everything the Green New Deal actually wants to. That's why the Green New Deal is not ready for prime time.
For the record, it's important to emphasize that Rob Bishop isn't just some random conservative personality, saying odd things in the media. Rather, the Utah Republican is a nine-term Republican -- whom GOP leaders named as the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Indeed, up until a few months ago, Bishop chaired the panel, where he spearheaded an effort to invalidate the Endangered Species Act.
And yet, he'll apparently now be famous for something altogether different.
The Utahan's argument is a tough one to unpack, since it's so needlessly over the top. I have some concerns about whether some of the goals set by the Green New Deal are realistic, but to argue that the blueprint is genocidal is hopelessly bonkers.
It's not homicidal, either. Bishop is apparently under the impression that the proposal would kill him if the plan is "actually implemented," but that in no way reflects reality.
There's also the congressman's claim that he's "an ethnic," which is why he believes its responsible to say the Green New Deal is "tantamount to genocide." I'm at a loss to understand how the GOP lawmaker would even define "ethnic."
But as the debate over solutions to the climate crisis continues, and the public looks to policymakers to work cooperatively, it's worth keeping in mind that Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee will be expected to find common ground with Rob Bishop.