Michigan GOP lawmaker stripped of office resources after spreading racist conspiracy theory

Rep. Josh Schriver on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives, at the Michigan Capitol, in Lansing, MI, on Oct. 10, 2023.

Michigan House of Representatives Speaker Joe Tate has stripped Republican Rep. Josh Schriver of his office staff and budget after Schriver promoted a racist conspiracy theory on social media last week.

According to a press release from Tate’s office, as of Feb. 12 Schriver has also been removed from his committee assignment and will only be able to access office resources at the discretion of the House speaker. The press release did not mention when or whether Schriver will regain access to his office resources, but it did say he will still be able to vote on bills as a member of the House.

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

Schriver, whose district contains portions of Macomb and Oakland counties, began receiving backlash from some of his Democratic and Republican colleagues after he shared a post about the “great replacement theory” to his social media account on Feb. 5.

The “great replacement” is a conspiracy theory pushed by far-right white supremacists who claim there is a coordinated effort underway to reduce the influence of white Americans through means such as nonwhite immigration and interracial marriage. This conspiracy theory has been cited as a motivation behind racial violence, including mass shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a Poway, California, synagogue in 2019, a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 and a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in 2022. It also inspired a person who set fire to a mosque in Escondido, California, in 2019.

In the days since making his original post, Schriver continued to make references on social media about border control and supposed attempts to diminish the white community. He claimed that he was the victim of “racist attacks” and accused the media of trying to start a “race war.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist issued separate statements on Feb. 9 condemning the posts and called for GOP leaders in the House to take action against Schriver.

“The abhorrent rhetoric pushed by a member of the Michigan House of Representatives goes against our state and national values. 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,” Whitmer said. “We will never let those who stoke racial fears divide us. We will stand together and fight to build a brighter future.”

House Minority Leader Matt Hall has not responded to a request for comment from the Michigan Independent.