Wisconsin US Senate candidate Eric Hovde spread antisemitic conspiracy theories - TAI News
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U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde appears at the annual convention of the Republican Party of Wisconsin in Appleton, May 18, 2024. (Photo by wisgop.com)

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde spread antisemitic conspiracy theories and used what could be dog whistle language, according to a May 19 report by the Israeli news outlet Haaretz. Hovde has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who also has a long history of using antisemitic tropes.

Hovde, the millionaire chief executive of a Utah-based bank, won the formal endorsement of the Republican Party of Wisconsin on May 18 in his race for the party’s Senate nomination. Assuming he wins the Aug. 13 primary, he will face Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.

According to the Haaretz report, Hovde appeared on the right-wing radio program “The Vicki McKenna Show” in 2022 and warned of the “Great Reset,” a conspiracy theory that global elites, especially Jews, are trying to take over the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The Davos crowd, there’s no question they want the Great Reset. They’re so blatant and open about it, they talk about it now. And they do believe that we want one central world government,” Hovde told the host. He specifically named the chair and CEO of BlackRock, who is Jewish: “Larry Fink at BlackRock is involved with the Davos crowd and the Great Reset. You know, people say, ‘Oh, that sounds [like a] conspiracy,’ [but] they’re very open about it and their whole views – and it’s a push toward socialism. It benefits the very elite in a global world order.”

The “Great Reset” conspiracy theory stems from a call by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020 for all countries to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to “act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” As the BBC noted, the announcement was short on details about how this “reset” would be achieved, and conspiracy theorists latched on to it as another attempt to establish a world government.

In its report “Antisemitism and anti-vax discourse in Europe,” the Media Diversity Institute included the “Great Reset” among conspiracy theories that involve antisemitic tropes and noted: “In some countries antisemitism is more subtle than in others, however, it is still part of conspiracist efforts to spread misinformation and fear. One narrative that all countries have in common is an old antisemitic narrative: a group of powerful Jewish people that want to take over the world. In most countries … this powerful figure takes the form of philanthropist George Soros or of the Rothschild family, who are generally central figures in antisemitic conspiracy theories. In other cases, those powerful secret figures are not named but implied.”

A Hovde spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Haaretz also noted that Hovde repeatedly used the term “shyster” at a 2023 Republican Women of Dane County luncheon in recounting a story about his great-grandparents nearly being swindled. It noted that, while the term does not have explicitly antisemitic origins, it has become a frequently used dog whistle against Jewish people.

On April 2, Hovde tweeted a video of Trump’s endorsement, writing, “I appreciate the support of President Trump and look forward to earning the support of voters all across Wisconsin to get our country back on track!”

Trump has frequently criticized Jewish voters for not backing his candidacy, saying that this makes them “very disloyal to Israel,” invoking the antisemitic trope that American Jews have divided loyalty. He lamented in 2021 that Israel no longer has “absolute power over Congress,” suggesting Jewish control of Washington, D.C. He told the Israeli American Council in 2019: “A lot of you are in the real estate business, because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all,” pushing more unflattering antisemitic stereotypes. He defended neo-Nazis and white nationalists who shouted, “Jews will not replace us” during a violent 2017 march in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

Hovde has already been facing criticism for his comments about various groups of Wisconsinites. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin recently launched a website called Hovde Doesn’t Like You, documenting his record of negative comments about women, farmers, single parents, older voters in nursing homes, and individuals struggling with their weight. “If Eric Hovde doesn’t like Wisconsinites, how can he possibly represent them?” the site asks.

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