Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) posted on Twitter the motto of a white nationalist group on Sunday, a little over a week after delivering the keynote address at the group’s conference in Florida.
“#AmericaFirst,” Gosar tweeted above a meme showing a cartoon of what appears to be a sex worker leaning into a man’s car and saying, “$50 WHATEVER YOU WANT BABY.”
The man sitting in the car replies: “CAN YOU ... TELL EVERYONE AMERICA FIRST IS INEVITABLE.”
“America First is inevitable” is the motto of the “America First” white nationalist movement headed by the racist and anti-Semitic podcaster Nick Fuentes.
Gosar’s office did not respond to a HuffPost request for comment on why he felt compelled to post the white nationalist group’s slogan ― especially since immediately after his controversial speech to the organization, he made a somewhat half-hearted effort to distance himself from it.
Fuentes — a 22-year-old Holocaust denier who attended the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — invited Gosar to speak at the group’s second annual conference on Feb. 26 in Orlando, Florida.
Gosar delivered a nearly 20-minute speech to the assembled group of young white nationalists before Fuentes took the stage himself, declaring that “white people are done being bullied” and that America needs to protect its “white demographic core.”
The next day, Fuentes posted a photo to Twitter — where he has a verified account with over 120,000 followers — showing him and Gosar having coffee together.
“Great meeting today with Congressman Gosar,” tweeted Fuentes. “America is truly uncancelled.”
Gosar’s alliance with Fuentes generated a wave of news coverage, much of which detailed the extreme racism and anti-Semitism of Fuentes and his followers. They often refer to themselves as “groypers,” a reference to their online mascot, a cartoon toad closely resembling the alt-right’s Pepe the Frog.
Fuentes, for example, once defended the anti-Black terror of the Jim Crow era in the American South, saying it was “better for us, better for them.” He also once compared Jews killed in Nazi concentration camp gas chambers to cookies baking in an overn.
Still, Fuentes and his “Groyper Army” have managed to make inroads within the Republican Party, and were a frequent fixture at then-President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again rallies across the country last year. They also played a major role in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol following an incendiary speech by Trump. Some “groypers” have since been arrested for their role in the historic riot, but not Fuentes, even though video footage has shown him encouraging people to charge into the Capitol.
Gosar, in response to the criticism heaped upon him following his speech to the “America First” conference, said “white racism” was “not appropriate.” But he also defended reaching out to the conference attendees. “There is a group of young people that are becoming part of the election process and becoming a bigger force,” he said. “So why not take that energy and listen to what they’ve got to say?”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was one of the few Republicans in Congress who spoke out against Gosar, telling Politico: “I think the organization that [Gosar] spoke to is one that has expressed views that are clearly racist … This is not the kind of an organization or an event that other members of Congress should be participating in.”
HuffPost last week reached out to the offices of seven prominent Republican lawmakers to see if they’d denounce Gosar for speaking at Fuentes’ white nationalist conference in Florida. None responded.
Given such reluctance, it’s uncertain whether Republicans will punish Gosar for continuing to promote and associate with a white nationalist group. Options include censuring him, stripping him of his committee assignments, or altogether expelling him from Congress.
Gosar, 62, is a former dentist first elected to the House as part of the tea party class of 2010. He gained national attention in 2018 when six of his nine siblings came out against his reelection that year, attacking his extremist views.