Rep. Paul Gosar rides a subway to the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 17, 2021, to attend a floor session at with the House of Representatives censured him and stripped him of his committee assignments for posting an animated video depicting him attacking and killing a Democratic member of Congress. Photo by Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images
UPDATE: Three hours after this story was published, Congressman Paul Gosar’s campaign consultant told the Arizona Mirror that the congressman would not be attending the white nationalist group’s event on April 20. Instead, he said Gosar had a “farm tour” scheduled for that day. Rory McShane said that American Populist Union never contacted Gosar or his campaign. As noted below, Gosar’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment before the story was published.
McShane did not immediately respond to questions about why Gosar promoted his planned appearance at the American Populist Union event on his official Instagram account.
This story has been updated to reflect McShane’s comments, a statement from American Populist Union and its headline has been changed.
Prescott Republican Congressman Paul Gosar was listed as a “special guest” with the white nationalist American Populist Union at an event that will be on a date popular among white nationalists and Neo-Nazis: Hitler’s birthday.
But Gosar’s campaign says he isn’t attending and it doesn’t know how he was listed as a guest of honor, even though Gosar promoted his scheduled appearance on social media.
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The American Populist Union is closely aligned with groypers, a group of white nationalists who strive for their ideas to become a part of the Republican mainstream and are largely followers of 23-year-old white nationalist Nick Fuentes. In 2021, Gosar was the first elected official to speak at Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference in 2021. This year, the conference saw speeches by Gosar, Rogers and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Earlier this month, Gosar said his March video message to attendees of AFPAC was the fault of a staffer who sent his video message to the wrong group. He distanced himself from Fuentes, telling Politico that the young Holocaust-denying racist “has a problem with his mouth.”
Fuentes shared the story on the encrypted messaging app Telegram with the message “April Fool’s!” and later said in a livestream that he and Gosar will continue to “collaborate behind the scenes.”
American Populist Union has connections to Fuentes ideologically and through its members. The group hobnobbed with Arizona politicians in December when it held an event across the street from Turning Point USA that attracted a slew of fringe activists and groypers.
The other featured guest at the event, John Doyle, has allied with and promoted groypers, and he organized a “Stop the Steal” rally in Michigan with Fuentes. Doyle, a YouTube personality who runs a show called “Heck off Commie,” regularly advocates far-right ideology. He has said that Martin Luther King was “not a hero” and has claimed that liberalism is linked to satanism.
Doyle has also posted highly misogynistic content, such as saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and he once called for “low IQ offenders” to be executed in response to a story about a Black man committing a violent crime. Doyle, along with other members of APU, were also in attendance at the first 76Fest which was dubbed “Hitler Youth, without the Hitler” by one of its organizers.
Arizona state Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, is also listed as a featured guest, but he told the Arizona Mirror he is not attending.
“When they first contacted me, I thought it was a County Young Republican event,” Petersen said. “After I realized it was an organization I was unfamiliar with, I respectfully declined to speak.”
The organization still lists Petersen as a “special guest” at the event.
Gosar’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
After this story was published, Gosar’s campaign consultant told the Arizona Mirror that the congressman would not be attending the white nationalist group’s event on April 20. Instead, he said Gosar had a “farm tour” scheduled for that day. Rory McShane said that American Populist Union never contacted Gosar or his campaign.
On April 2, Gosar promoted the American Populist Union event, and his appearance, in an Instagram story. McShane didn’t immediately respond to requests about what Gosar did that if he had no idea he was scheduled to attend it.
American Populist Union did not respond to requests for comment before this article was published. Several hours later, its chairman, Vince Dao, sent a statement denying any “ties or loyalties to white nationalism or Neo-Nazism,” and he said his team did not know it was planning an event on Hitler’s birthday.
“We chose the date April 20 based on venue pricing, availability, and logistics — and nothing more. Venues tend to be easier to acquire on weekdays, which is why we ended up with the date. Our team was not even aware that April 20 was Hitler’s birthday, and we were not intending to honor or acknowledge Hitler or Nazism in any way,” Dao said.
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