A prominent white nationalist has been kicked out of the U.S. military three months after a HuffPost investigation revealed he had joined the Air Force and graduated from basic training.
Shawn McCaffrey, 28, is “no longer serving in the U.S. Air Force,” spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement Thursday.
“Information brought to the attention of his command after Mr. McCaffrey’s enlistment led to an entry level separation due to erroneous enlistment,” Stefanek said without elaborating on the specifics.
McCaffrey — who lives near Detroit and did not immediately respond to a request for comment — was a key member of Identity Evropa, a group infamous for its role in the deadly 2017 “Unite The Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Although McCaffrey did not attend the Charlottesville rally, he was still very active with Identity Evropa, traveling with its leaders to a white nationalist conference in Washington, D.C., in 2016. In the ensuing years, he remained a fixture on the far right, co-hosting a racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic podcast.
McCaffrey joined the Air Force in late January and graduated from boot camp in March, as HuffPost first reported, even as the military underwent a historic stand-down order to address extremism in the ranks, a problem brought into focus by the prevalence of current and former military personnel taking part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Experts have long warned of the dangers of extremists in the military, where they receive combat training they can use to inflict violence on civilian targets and can recruit other servicemen and servicewomen to their cause.
McCaffrey was still an Airman First Class in active-duty technical training as of early last month, prompting Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who chairs the military personnel subcommittee, to announce that she would be demanding answers from Air Force top brass.
“I will be contacting Air Force leadership to find out why this individual ― who has his own author page on a website for far right extremists, describes himself as an ‘activist,’ and co-hosted a weekly podcast in which he attacked Jews, women, LGBTQ+ people, the U.S. armed forces, and many others using unacceptable slurs ― remains on active duty and under review given the very public and abundant evidence of his extremist ties,” Speier said in a statement at the time.
The military has codes prohibiting extremism, but enforcement is often left to the whims of individual commanders. In 2019, HuffPost helped expose 11 U.S. servicemen as members of Identity Evropa. Only six were eventually kicked out of the military, with the other five allowed to remain.
McCaffrey had a long and at times public association with far-right groups. In 2017, he joined neo-Nazis in Queens, New York, to troll a livestreamed anti-Trump art installation.
More recently, he has positioned himself as a close ally of white nationalist Nick Fuentes, the leader of the America First “gropyer” movement, who reportedly helped foment the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
And until last year, McCaffrey co-hosted a livestreamed podcast called “The Weekly Sweat.” Guests included some of the vilest and best-known fascists in the country, including white nationalist figurehead Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
In one intensely homophobic “Weekly Sweat” episode, McCaffrey ranted that gay people “can’t stop sodomizing each other,” adding, “You’re never OK. And if you think we’re going to stop after we go after the Jews... no. Gays are not OK ever, under any circumstance, and you’re not welcome here. It’s beyond a mental illness. It’s a very deep, sick perversion.”
Despite the abundant evidence of his extremism, McCaffrey managed to join the Air Force in January. A video from that month, posted to Facebook by the Air Force’s Detroit recruitment center, appeared to show him taking his oath to “support and defend the Constitution” of the U.S. “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
In April, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a memo outlining the Pentagon’s plans to confront extremism in the military, including improving how recruits are screened.
In February, about a month after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Austin issued the 60-day stand-down order, requiring commanders to have “needed discussions” about extremism with troops.
“We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies,” he wrote in a memo announcing the order.