Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA (TPUSA) outfit has a white nationalist problem. Like the proverbial traveler who regularly lies down with dogs, he keeps finding he has a nasty flea infestation everywhere he turns. Like the neo-Nazis who turned up recently outside a TPUSA event in Florida and made an ugly scene.
Kirk’s solution to the problem: Pretend to be a Nazi hunter! And to transform the absurdity of it all into an unregenerate travesty, anoint as one of your chief fellow Nazi hunters one of the most obstreperous white nationalist trolls in the right-wing media! Yeah, that’ll work.
Kirk has had a white nationalist problem for awhile. First, he found his college-friendly gatherings for eager young conservatives invaded by an endless stream of cynical white nationalists from Nicholas Fuentes’ “Groyper Army” who would badger him with questions pointed at the incoherence of his appeal: Namely, if you’re going to court young Trumpists, why not skip the plausible deniability and just embrace the racism and antisemitism inherent to white nationalism?
After more than a year of what became known as the “Groyper Wars,” Kirk finally raised the white flag earlier this year by making his associations with white nationalists explicit, including “Groyper” figures as speakers at TPUSA events.
Kirk has struggled to elude being associated with the extremism his brand of politics produces. At an October 2021 event in Idaho, one audience member asked him: “When do we get to use the guns? … How many elections are they gonna steal before we kill these people?” Kirk’s response amounted to chagrined agreement, saying that the query was just “overly blunt” and agreeing that “we are living under fascism.”
Last December, a TPUSA event in Phoenix turned into a meeting ground for an array of far-right extremists, including several with ties to the Groypers. They included Greyson Arnold, a prominent Groyper influencer who posts memes lamenting the American victory in World War II, calling Adolf Hitler a “complicated historical figure,” and lauding Nazis as the “pure race.” He has also posted the logo for the neo-Nazi site Stormfront on his Instagram account.
So it was no great surprise to see a cluster of neo-Nazis turn up outside the TPUSA event July 23 in Miami in an obvious publicity stunt. They waved banners with swastikas, SS lightning bolts, Nazi battle flags, and “DeSantis for Governor” emblazoned on them.
TPUSA spokesperson Andrew Kolvet told Stop Antisemitism, "They have nothing to do with TPUSA, our event, or our students.”
The scene caught the attention of the hosts of ABC’s The View, who suggested to their audience that the presence of the neo-Nazis wasn’t accidental. “Neo-Nazis were out there in the front of the conference with antisemitic slurs and … the Nazi swastika and a picture of a so-called Jewish person with exaggerated features, just like Goebbels did during the Third Reich. It’s the same thing, right out of the same playbook,” host Joy Behar said.
Whoopi Goldberg added that TPUSA "let them in and you knew what they were, so you are complicit."
However, after Kirk threatened to sue the show, its programmers apologized. “We want to make clear that these demonstrators were outside the event and that they were not invited or endorsed by Turning Point USA,” host Sara Haines said on Wednesday.
Kirk, however, was not done. He announced that he intended to go on the offensive and find out just who those neo-Nazis really were—implying that they might have actually been leftist provocateurs.
On Wednesday, he tweeted:
Super weird how the media isn’t trying to find out the identity of the “Nazis” that came and "demonstrated" on the sidewalk outside of our event. I want to know who these people are. Are they actually Nazis, or paid Democrat agitators?
I plan to find out.
Actually, the identities of these neo-Nazis are well-known, and have been thoroughly identified and outed by Miami antifascists. Primarily, the men involved are members of the Florida chapter of the Goyim Defense League, an organization devoted to trolling their targets—such as the Texas synagogue they attacked last year—with unrepentant Hitler-worshipping, Jew-hating fascist rhetoric and threats. Adding to their numbers were members of the neofascist National Socialist Movement.
But Kirk’s hilariously hollow plan to “find the real Nazis” went completely off the deep end when Newsmax host Benny Johnson tweeted out a parody movie poster with photos of himself, Kirk, and far-right media figure Jack Posobiec pasted over the main characters’ faces in the film Inglorious Basterds.
“TPUSA is now a Nazi Hunter organization,” Johnson declared. “We are on a mission to find and unmask the ‘Nazis’—aka paid leftists—who tried to ruin the lives of 5K patriotic young American students.”
He added: “If you come to a @TPUSA conference to harm students, we will destroy your life.”
Kirk’s record in dealing with young white nationalists and closeted neofascists within his ranks already makes him entirely unsuited to the work of Nazi-hunting. But the idea that Posobiec might be good at sniffing out fascists only makes sense if you think his longtime associations with neo-Nazis and white nationalists—not to mention his unflagging devotion to promoting their far-right politics—would work as an asset in this regard.
After all, Posobiec’s extremism file at the Southern Poverty Law Center is almost as thick as David Duke’s or Richard Spencer’s. That’s mainly because he built his media career around promoting white nationalist causes and associating with other prominent bigots—not to mention his frequent indulgence in racist, antisemitic, and anti-LGBTQ hate speech.
One of the more prominent instances of Posobiec’s dalliances with neo-Nazis was his association with Jeffrey and Edward Clark, two brothers from Washington, D.C., who were unapologetic fascists. Among other stunts, the Clark brothers showed up to disrupt a reading by antifascist author Alexander Reid Ross in Washington that had been publicized by Posobiec.
Both young men had teamed up with Posobiec in May 2017 to shoot video for a conspiracy theory project about Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer whose murder became grist for a number of conspiracy mills, eventually evolving into the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theories. Posobiec also appears in several photographs working on the video with the Clark brothers in Bloomingdale, and he actually interviewed them as “protesters” for a segment he produced for his onetime media platform, The Rebel Media.
That’s what the TPUSA guys call a “Nazi hunter.” Sort of the same way they look up to Josh Hawley as an exemplar of manhood.
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