GOP congressman defends scheduled fundraiser with white supremacist

1136

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is scheduled to appear with white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) on Tuesday seemed to defend a scheduled fundraiser at which he was allegedly slated to appear with white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Fuentes' group, America First, announced the fundraiser on Monday via its account on the right-wing Telegram social media network. "Please join Nick Fuentes and America First for a fundraiser event with Congressman Paul Gosar," the digital flyer notes, along with a photo of Gosar and Fuentes advertising the July 2 event.

The flier directs people to donate to Gosar's reelection campaign via WinRed, the online donation platform used by most Republican candidates.

After the flier circulated on Twitter and commenters took note that Gosar was working with Fuentes, the congressman responded.

"Not sure why anyone is freaking out," Gosar tweeted. "I'll say this: there are millions of Gen Z, Y and X conservatives. They believe in America First. They will not agree 100% on every issue. No group does. We will not let the left dictate our strategy, alliances and efforts. Ignore the left."

He shared a tweet posted by the president of the New York Young Republican Club, Gavin Wax, who wrote, "Gosar is a fantastic Congressman and I'm sick of all these pathetic cowards on my time-line freaking out over nothing and trying to throw him to the wolves. Grow some damn balls you eunuchs.."

Gosar did not deny that the fundraiser is taking place.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, Gosar changed pace, claiming to reporters that he was not aware of any fundraiser on his behalf.

"I have no idea what’s going on," he told CNN reporter Manu Raju. "There's no fundraiser that I know of on Friday."

Raju noted that when asked whether "he would appear with Fuentes at all," Gosar avoided a direct response.

Fuentes has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "white nationalist." In a recent stream of his online program, Fuentes said that the decision by Congress and President Joe Biden to make Juneteenth a national holiday is "white replacement."

Gosar was one of 14 Republicans in the House who voted against creating a federal holiday marking Juneteenth, a celebration of the day in June 1865 that federal troops brought the news to African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Emancipation Proclamation had set them free over two years earlier.

Gosar said the holiday would further divide the country and "tears us apart."

The "great replacement" is a racist conspiracy theory alleging that whites in America are being replaced by nonwhite immigrants. Such figures as Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) have promoted it in recent months, as has Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Gosar has repeatedly affiliated himself with Fuentes, who has an extensive history of racist comments and endorsements of violence. Gosar was the keynote speaker at Fuentes' America First Political Action Conference in February.

Before the "Stop the Steal" rally of supporters of Donald Trump on Jan. 6, Fuentes encouraged his supporters to kill legislators who would not go along with Trump's denial of his election loss. Referring to the attack on the Capitol that followed the rally, Fuentes said, "I said to myself, 'This is awesome.'"

Fuentes marched at the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, that lead to the death of a counterprotester. He is affiliated with the antisemitic, racist "alt-right" movement and has said that Black people "do not live in a civilized fashion."

Gosar, who has never distanced himself from Fuentes, has also endorsed the congressional campaign of Laura Loomer, another alt-right figure who has described herself as "pro white nationalism."

Update: This story was updated to include Gosar's comments to a CNN reporter, in which he denied knowing anything about Fuentes's fundraiser.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.