News (USA)

Donald Trump speaks at conference attended by neo-Nazis

Dallas, TX - August 4, 2022: Matt Schlapp speaks during CPAC Texas 2022 conference at Hilton Anatole
Dallas, TX - August 4, 2022: Matt Schlapp speaks during CPAC Texas 2022 conference at Hilton Anatole Photo: Shutterstock

American Conservative Union (ACU) Chair Matt Schlapp – who has been accused of sexual misconduct with younger men – angrily denied news reports of neo-Nazis and white supremacists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual right-wing conference where Donald Trump recently delivered a speech. CPAC is organized by the ACU.

While Schlapp denounced the news reports as “false” and CPAC called them “fake news,” the NBC News reporter behind the claim backed it up by posting photographs of well-known neo-Nazis and white supremacists attending the event.

On Saturday, NBC News published an article entitled, “Nazis mingle openly at CPAC, spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories and finding allies.” The article said that a group of Nazis who openly identified as national socialists mingled with mainstream conservative personalities at CPAC’s Young Republican mixer on Friday evening. The Nazis reportedly mingled with members of the anti-LGBTQ+ group Turning Point USA and discussed “race science” and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

The white supremacists present included Greg Conte, an attendee of the 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia; Jared Taylor, a man described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “crudely white supremacist”; and Ryan Sanchez, a past member of the Nazi “Rise Above Movement.” Sanchez reportedly used the n-word and gave a Nazi salute in the lobby of the conference hotel.

Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups have increasingly targeted LGBTQ+ events and queer-affirming venues as right-wing politicians increasingly accuse queer people of “sexualizing” children.

Schlapp — who was accused last year of groping a man without consent — called NBC’s report “false, misleading, and grossly manipulative.” CPAC’s official X account also called NBC’s report “fake news.”

However, Ben Goggin, the NBC News reporter who authored the article, responded by posting photos and videos of the aforementioned neo-Nazis and white supremacists attending CPAC. He noted that neither CPAC nor Schlapp have responded to his video proof since he posted it.

“The Nazis [at CPAC] introduced themselves to me at a mixer and said they were national socialists, started talking about skull measurements and pushing the conspiracy theory that all races were being controlled [by] Jewish people,” Goggin wrote in one post.

“Nazis, antisemitism, the great replacement theory, [and white supremacist Nick] Fuentes, have become so common among conservatives that I think attendees, even journalists, didn’t think too deeply about them being at CPAC,” Goggin wrote in another X post. “There was very much an ‘oh them’ attitude about the nazis.”

This year’s CPAC included speeches by Trump and anti-LGBTQ+ politicians like Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), rabidly transphobic former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec. During his CPAC speech, Posobiec called for the end of democracy.

Numerous journalists, including Goggin, noted that this year’s CPAC had an embarrassingly low turnout.

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