Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Garrett was thrilled to hang around with white nationalists — until it became politically inconvenient.
The violent white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia — where neo-Nazis attacked peaceful anti-racism protestors, and one of them rammed his car into the crowd, killing one and injuring 19 others — has been met with horror and revulsion across the country.
And Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, whose district contains Charlottesville, claimed to be appalled at what happened.
But Garrett's actions speak louder than words. On Saturday, a photograph surfaced revealing that he had recently met, and proudly posed, with Kessler:
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) August 12, 2017
Garrett couldn't have known the rally would become a riot that would end in murder, but he certainly cannot plead ignorance about what Kessler stood for.
Kessler is the founder of Unity & Security for America, a white supremacist group billing itself as a "transformational movement within the Cultural Marxist hell that is Charlottesville."
My own parents live in Charlottesville. They were at home, away from the protests, but I repeatedly contacted them to make sure they were safe, because some of the violence occurred near where my father works.
My father told me that it was as though the city he loves has been "violated," with these outsiders marching in the streets, waving Confederate battle banners and giving Nazi salutes.
Garrett owes my parents, and all of his other constituents in Charlottesville, an explanation for why he seemed so proud to pose for smiling pictures with a man who invaded their city with murderous hate.