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Rep. Paul Gosar

Photo by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Video from a far-right conference over the weekend, at which Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was the keynote speaker, shows an event organizer using white supremacist rhetoric and praising the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as "awesome."

Over the weekend, Gosar spoke at the conservative America First Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. The event was put on by activist Nick Fuentes, who has a long history of bigoted comments.

In his own speech, Gosar had promoted conservative attacks on "big tech" for instituting bans against figures on the right for posting racist, sexist and inaccurate election-related content. Gosar singled out for praise activist and former congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who was banned from Twitter for making anti-Muslim comments.

Footage of Fuentes' speech, which was stuffed with white supremacist rhetoric, surfaced a few days later.

"White people founded this country. This country wouldn't exist without white people," Fuentes said. "White people are done being bullied."

Fuentes also said he had attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, prior to the violent insurrection that killed five people. That rally sought to promote the myth that the election was rigged in favor of President Joe Biden and that there had been widespread voter fraud in several predominantly Black cities, racist and baseless claims which fueled the eventual riots at the Capitol.

"I saw hundreds of thousands of patriots surrounding the U.S. Capitol building and I saw the police retreating and we head that the politicians voting on the fraudulent election had scurried in their underground tunnels away from the Capitol, I said to myself, 'this is awesome,'" Fuentes said.

The comments aligned with Fuentes' previous rhetoric. Fuentes, an infamous white supremacist figure among the far right, marched alongside neo-Nazis at the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally that left one counter-protester dead. He has also been suspended from YouTube for violating policies against hate speech.

Fuentes has used his online presence to float the idea of killing state legislators who wouldn't go along with the false story that the election was stolen from Donald Trump, notably in majority Black and brown cities.

"What can you and I do to a state legislator besides kill them?" he rhetorically asked in a broadcast. Discussing the Capitol attack on his show, Fuentes said, he "cannot condemn" and "cannot disavow" it.

Fuentes has pushed other openly racist views, including that Black people "do not live in a civilized fashion." Fuentes has also discussedgiving Trump a Nazi salute and has allied himself with the so-called "alt-right," a far-right white supremacist movement that has embraced anti-Semitism, racism, and misogyny as its calling cards.

"Fuentes has also repeatedly praised neo-Nazis and called for violence in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations," the Southern Poverty Law Center reported last year.

Fuentes' comments and views before the Florida event were easily accessible online and in most instances have video to verify their existence. Despite this, Gosar chose to attend his event and even posedfor photos with Fuentes.

Gosar's image is now being used by Fuentes to promote future events with his organization.

"Thank you to our attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, staffers, and speakers for their help in putting on a truly great and historic America First event. See you next year!" Fuentes wrote in a post accompanied by two pictures featuring Gosar.

Top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have yet to publicly condemn Gosar for appearing at the white supremacist event.

Before Gosar's speech, he was notably preceded by former Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who was stripped of his committee assignments by GOP leaders in 2019 for defending white nationalism in an interview with the New York Times.

Prior to that, King had openly associated himself with racist causes and for years championed them using his platform as an elected official.

In his speech over the weekend, King defended the pro-slavery Confederate flag, arguing that it was about "southern pride," and accused Democrats of "turning it into a symbol of evil slavery."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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