State-sponsored white supremacy in right-wing W. Va. Attorney General’s office

A criminal at work. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

A criminal at work. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

A spokeswoman and assistant communications director for right-wing West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was revealed on Aug. 25 to have been featured in white supremacist propaganda, a “Stop White Genocide” video.

In the video, Carrie Bowe, previously employed by the conservative Family Policy Council, recites numerous racist talking points. Many of the slogans are common in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, such as “Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.” Bowe also states there is “a program of genocide against my race, the white race.” The video features four white women dressed all in white against a white background, with each spouting that white people are victimized and oppressed by “race mixing” and immigration.

The video was originally uploaded to YouTube in 2012. An hour after the Charleston Gazette-Mail exposed the video, Morrisey fired Bowe. Morrisey, a conservative white man tasked as the state attorney general with defending civil rights, says he was “unaware” of Bowe’s views.

Delegate Sean Hornbuckle, one of only three Black lawmakers in the 134-member West Virginia Legislature, told the Gazette-Mail that the firing was only because of the upcoming election: “[Morrisey] fired somebody because he wants to win an election. It’s terrible that you have people in your office secretly, behind closed doors, doing things like this. If your [assistant] communications director feels like that, it shows a lot.”

Though trying to distance himself from the overt “white nationalist” he employed, Morrisey has his own reactionary and racist positions. Bowe officially represented his office this year at an event in support of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 4012). This bill and ones like it across the U.S. are notorious for attempting to provide a legal pretext for business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, Arabs, Muslims or anyone else they deem contrary to Christian “religious beliefs.” (The bill passed in the state House of Delegates, but was killed in the state Senate.)

Morrisey also went out of his way to support a restrictive voter-ID law in North Carolina that attacked the Black community and other marginalized groups. When the law was appealed to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court, Morrisey, along with thirteen other Republican attorneys general, wrote a letter asking the court to keep its restrictions in place.

In July, the appeals court struck down the North Carolina law. Writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz noted, “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision. … Winning an election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful racial discrimination.”