Paul Nehlen, a Wisconsin Republican who hopes to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan, is increasingly spewing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and unapologetically racist jargon from his official Twitter account and on white supremacist podcasts.
Nehlen, a businessman with no political experience, ran unsuccessfully against Ryan in 2016. This year, he initially set out to woo right-of-center Republicans with an “America First” campaign, but appears to have tacked further right in recent months, posting a stream of overtly anti-Semitic, racist and anti-immigrant messages, many of which have been celebrated and promoted widely by hundreds of accounts linked to alt righters and other white supremacists, including Richard Spencer and David Duke:
Nehlen adds #itsokaytobewhite to nearly every tweet (including one in response to Paul Ryan’s homage to Martin Luther King, Jr.), elevating a meme promoted by white supremacists and racist 4chan posters. And while his racism and anti-Muslim rhetoric are glaringly apparent, Nehlen’s anti-Semitism is even more pronounced.
Earlier this week, Nehlen posted a thread in which he used Stars of David to “identify” theoretically Jewish employees (or those with Jewish spouses) at major media organizations, including Fox, CNN, NBC and others.
In an online attack on Jewish libertarian activist Ari Cohn, Nehlen employed the anti-Semitic “echo” (the practice of putting a set of three parentheses around the name of a person or entity to indicate its Jewishness), calling upon Cohn to “just admit you are a (((bigot))),” and accusing Cohn of “pretend[ing]” to be white “for the purposes of starting a race war w[ith] me.”
In January, Nehlen tweeted the following:
In December, Nehlen appeared (for the second time) on “Fash the Nation,” a white supremacist podcast, where he recounted a Twitter exchange in which Nehlen told conservative commentator John Podhoretz to “eat a bullet” and “self-deport.” When Podhoretz, who is Jewish, responded with a lewd reference to Nehlen’s relationship with Steve Bannon, Nehlen made several anti-Semitic comments, and was eventually suspended from Twitter for 12 hours. Nehlen referred to the suspension as being “shoah’d,” a demeaning Holocaust reference popular with the alt right.
Podhoretz isn’t the only journalist to draw Nehlen’s ire. In January, Nehlen and Ben Shapiro locked horns on Twitter, while that same month, Nehlen argued with reporter Yair Rosenberg, equating being “pro-white” with being “pro-Jewish.” This is a popular refrain among white supremacists, including Richard Spencer.
In late December, conservative talk show host John Cardillo, citing one of Nehlen’s anti-Semitic comments, tweeted, “Sad seeing Paul Nehlen fall. But better this was all exposed now than in the midterms. This is why we need to vet the hell out of our candidates.”
Nehlen shot back at Cardillo, “You’ve exposed yourself as a shill for the sheckles.”
And with that well-worn anti-Semitic phrase, Nehlen further cemented his position as an unabashed racist.
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