The Republican National Committee (RNC) is facing criticism for attempting to paint Democratic President Joe Biden as antisemitic for joking Steve Dettelbach, his nominee to serve as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “was responsible for the weather today” while speaking to the press from the White House rose garden.
In a tweet, the RNC pointed out Dettelbach is Jewish and suggested Biden was purposely spreading a conspiracy theory Jewish people control the weather.
The suggestion that Jews control the weather is an actual conspiracy theory, but at least one news outlet noted Biden simply made a "corny joke" about Dettelbach bringing good weather with him to Washington on the day he announced further plans to address gun violence in the absence of congressional action.
But the RNC's concerns rang hollow, particularly because it has failed to call out members of their own ranks for antisemitism.
Last year, Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was widely condemned for espousing the belief that the 2018 California wildfires were not caused by climate change but some kind of "space laser" that had set the state ablaze.
The term "Jewish space lasers" began to trend on Twitter after one of Greene's older Facebook posts—in which she shared the conspiracy theory—resurfaced.
In it, she said Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) and renewable energy startup Solaren sent solar power generators to space funded by the Rothschilds, a family of Ashkenazi Jewish billionaires who have often been the target of antisemitic conspiracy theories.
The Republican Party also recently failed to condemn Republican Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, who denied he planned to attend a far-right conference with ties to White nationalist groups on April 20, the birthday of German Nazi Party leader and Holocaust perpetrator Adolf Hitler.
Meanwhile, prominent Republicans like former President Donald Trump's ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon have pushed replacement theory, a conspiracy theory that states White European populations and their descendants are being demographically and culturally replaced with non-European peoples.
The RNC was criticized for what many perceived as blatant hypocrisy.
Dettelbach has been said to face "long odds" to confirmation, particularly because ATF, which is responsible for gun regulations, has not had a permanent director since 2015 and has been led by acting directors since the agency became a Senate-confirmed position in 2006.
Biden's announcement that he'd nominated Dettelbach to lead ATF came at the same time that he announced the finalization of a rule banning sales of so-called ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms that don't have serial numbers.
Gun control advocates have called on the Biden administration to take swifter action, though Biden has faced roadblocks in Congress. Earlier this year, Biden was forced to withdraw the nomination of his first choice to lead ATF, gun control advocate David Chipman, amid bipartisan concerns about Chapman's past gun control advocacy.