For more than two decades, Supreme Court Justice, alleged porn aficionado, and all-around terrible person Clarence Thomas has accepted very expensive gifts from Texas billionaire and Republican donor Harlan Crow. A ProPublica report exposed Justice Thomas’ clear breach of the most basic of ethics principles—which is not surprising, considering how ethically challenged his wife is with regard to her efforts to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Thomas, for his part, has issued a truly pathetic defense of his relationship with Harlan Crow and his wife Kathy, which has lasted for most of Thomas’ tenure on the Supreme Court. Crow’s conservative bona fides include a board seat at a prominent right-wing think tank that has boasted of its members filing numerous amicus briefs in “multiple Supreme Court cases” during Thomas’ tenure. He’s also a huge Republican Party donor in general.
The Washingtonian magazine reports that Crow is also a big Nazi memorabilia collector who likes to adorn his home with Nazi artifacts—like a signed copy of “Mein Kampf.” But that’s just one small part of his strange collection, and the scramble by apologists to explain away this egregious fetish is telling.
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The first report of Clarence Thomas’ “billionaire benefactor” and his collection of very dark artifacts was published by The Washingtonian on Friday. It included pictures of some of Harlan Crow’s displayed Nazi swag, including a sheet of stamps from the Third Reich with Adolf Hitler’s face on them, framed in glass. There are Nazi linens folded and displayed in his home. He even has two paintings by Adolf Hitler that he proudly showcases next to paintings by Norman Rockwell.
The images were reportedly captured by people who have attended dinners and functions at Crow’s home, and The Washingtonian interviewed them as well:
“I still can’t get over the collection of Nazi memorabilia,” says one person who attended an event at Crow’s home a few years ago and asked to remain anonymous. “It would have been helpful to have someone explain the significance of all the items. Without that context, you sort of just gasp when you walk into the room.” One memorable aspect was the paintings: “something done by George W. Bush next to a Norman Rockwell next to one by Hitler.” They also said it was “startling” and “strange” to see the dictator sculptures in the backyard.
Oh yeah, there is also Crow’s backyard, which is home to the “Garden of Evil.” It includes statues of historic dictators like Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu and Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito. But don’t worry: According to Crow, he has this garden set up because he despises communism and fascism. Of course, as writer Adam H. Johnson pointed out, this Garden of Evil does seem to have some very obvious omissions.
And as podcaster Rob Rousseau wrote:
Here’s a picture of Harlan Crow’s garden collection.
Right-wingers like Jonah Goldberg, editor in chief over at The Dispatch, were quick to defend Crow, claiming “It's not a tribute to evil or something to be mocked. It's an attempt [to] commemorate the horrors of the 20th century in the spirit of "never again." Harlan Crow is a deeply honorable, decent, and patriotic person. He's not the strawman Thomas haters are trying to make him.” As people quickly pointed out, Crow is “a minority investor in The Dispatch and a friend of the founders.”
Intellectual wannabe Ben Shapiro, the kind of right-winger who calls everyone who disagrees with him antisemitic but seems to love apologizing for most right-wing antisemitism, tried to defend Crow’s collection by saying that “a reason you might own this stuff is to remember the things that you hate.” Like napkins and stamps!
Maybe it is as simple as that. But then again, Crow seems to have done a good job securing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for his collection. So what does that say about him? What does it say about all of the conservatives Crow has donated to and “collected” at his home for big-money fundraisers, like Marco Rubio?
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