The House select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol takeover subpoenaed a variety of people, including Trump officials and grassroots activists. And on January 19, 2022, two more were called: Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, the leaders of the “Groyper” movement, a white supremacist outgrowth of the “alt-right.” Fuentes believes that “genocide” is being committed against white people, and rails against immigration, the “LGBTQ agenda” and feminism. Fuentes, Casey, and other minor characters on the national scene are worth knowing about for three reasons.
The first is that the Groypers have been able attract mainstream support. The second is if Fuentes and Casey “were involved in the planning and coordination of the January 6 attack … it would show tight collaboration between true white supremacists and the former administration,” according to Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. Third, the committee specifically. pointed out that Fuentes and Casey had “received tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin from a French computer programmer.” Calling for — and then cheering on — the takeover of the Capitol after receiving foreign funding would put them in a different category than many of the other involved groups which seem to lack foreign financial connections.
From 2017 to 2020, Casey was the leader of white supremacist group Identity Evropa (later rebranded as the American Identity Movement), which window-dressed traditional white supremacist views to give itself a better public image, which the movement called “optics.” Early on, the group was also closely aligned with racist leader Richard Spencer. Fuentes, a young activist who was visible from the beginning, was a prominent figure. more traditional conservatismto overt white supremacy. The star of the alt right has fallen, and the Groypers are those who have chosen infiltrate Trumpists’ ranks to push them further right.
The alt-right burst onto the scene in 2016 as members hitched their horse to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and he embraced them in turn. This included both wings of the alt-right — one a new generation of open white supremacists like neo-Nazis, the other, the “alt-lite,” more moderate ideologically and which included people of color, Jews and gay men.
For many decades, it was unheard of for a major party’s presidential candidate to openly embrace white supremacists, and the alt-right took this opportunity to expand into a mass movement. The alt-right movement peaked early with the August 2017 “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their largest public event was also their downfall after it ended with Heather Heyer’s murder.
As Trump’s presidency went on, many in the alt-right bailed on him because he wasn’t as overtly racist or antisemitic as they’d hoped he would be. Patriot Front, one of the main groups in the movement, left Trump to create a more radical and independent political path. Patriot Front focuses on propaganda such as stickering and holds periodic unannounced marches in which members are disguised to hide their identities. Richard Spencer, for example, fell into relative inactivity partly because of the Sines v. KesslerCivil suit over the organizing of Charlottesville demonstration. Spencer was found guilty and ordered to pay a substantial sum.
However, some didn’t abandon the movement Trump had created and in which the alt lite was active. In fact, many Trumpists — including the Proud Boys, but also regular Republicans — were becoming more aggressive and violent. This was evident on January 6. The Groypers were the main grouping of the racist alt-right who moved in on these more moderate political circles.
While not all alt-right supporters made the switch to the alt-right, it does show there was a direct line between Charlottesville (and the Capitol breach) for some. As an example, teenager(He is now). 23), Fuentes had already been radical — radical enough to go to Charlottesville, even as other groups in Trump’s camp with extreme politics, like the Oath Keepers, stayed away. Identity Evropa was one of the most prominent groups. (Casey later). deposedIn Sines v. Kessler for the group’s role in the rally.).
Later in 2017, Identity Evropa was taken over by Casey, and it was rebranded as the American Identity Movement in 2019. However, on November 2, 2020 — the day before the presidential election — he announced its dissolutionand his entry into the Groyper organization. For Casey and his cadre, this marked an end to their strategy of independent white supremacist organizing, instead turning to entryism — the tactic of joining a larger organization or movement in order to turn it toward one’s politics.
Fuentes created his Groyper movement in 2019 by attacking far-right activists he considered too moderate. This included Turning Point USA President Charles Kirk and right-wing political pundit Ben Shapiro as well as Donald Trump Jr. Using the brand “America First Movement” — whose fundraising vehicle is the America First PAC (AFPAC) — Fuentes organized competing conferences at the same timeas mainstream events, such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Fuentes is a white supremacist who has only minimally camouflaged his views, but he has been able attract mainstream support. Rep. Paul Gosar (R. Arizona) was the winner. keynote speaker at an AFPACconference, while Rep. Matt Gaetz (R.Florida), has called for Fuentes’ removal from the federal “no-fly” list. Fuentes has been praised by Ali Alexander, the organizer of the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, while Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers bragged that Fuentes called her “based” — an alt-right term denoting that someone’s views are aligned with their movement. Michelle Malkin, a conservative commentator, has been positioned close to the Groypers and given her their monicker. “mommy.”It is quite unusual for a white supremacist like Alexander to be supported by people of color, but Fuentes is of course of this. Mexican heritage.
Regardless of the actual impact of his words, Fuentes’s statements before the Capitol breach are coming back to haunt him. He will be in the Capitol breach again in November 2020. called for right-wingers to be “more feral” and to “storm every state capitol until January 20, 2021, until President Trump is inaugurated for four more years.” Two days before the Capitol attack, he said on his livestream, “What can you and I do to a state legislator — besides kill them? This is a terrible idea. I’m not advising that, but I mean, what else can you do, right?”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, on January 6, Fuentes “wore a VIP badge to Trump’s speech.” Fuentes and Casey were later on the Capitol grounds, where Fuentes called on the crowd to “break down the barriers and disregard the police.” Their America First flags were seen at the rally — including at least one inside the Capitol, held by California college student Christian Secor, who was later detained.
The January 6th committee has issued an order Fuentes and CaseyYou must turn over all documents by February 2, 2022. Interviews must be completed by February 9. But it may be the foreign funding that becomes their biggest problem, especially if — as with the Oath Keepers — they are charged with “seditious conspiracy.” According to the committee, the FBI “is reportedly scrutinizing to assess whether the money was linked to the Capitol attack or otherwise used to fund illegal acts.” (Before committing suicideFuentes was $250,000 from a French programmer. Casey was the recipient $25,000.)
Casey has put on a brave front. saying he might invoke the Fifth Amendment — unless “they televise my appearance,” in which case “I absolutely will do it.” But it remains to be seen what look he has come February.