Twitter has gotten well-deserved flack for giving violent extremists a platform — most recently in the form of white supremacist Paul Nehlen, once backed by Steve Bannon and Breitbart.
Nehlen’s account was suspended Wednesday following a rash of particularly violent rhetoric.
Nehlen was a perennial challenger to former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and emerged as an avatar of the so-called “alt-right” white supremacist movement in the Trump era. He describes himself as a “pro-White Christian American candidate.” He doxxed his critics and claimed most of them were Jewish.
Brietbart cut ties with Nehlen following his appearance on a white supremacist podcast. However, given that his white identity politics had always been front-and-center, its could be Breitbart’s stand had less to do with principle and more to do with political calculus.
And now he’s tweeted threats of violence against Jewish Americans.
This guy was Steve Bannon's pick to be a congressman. Here he is openly calling for the murder of Jews.
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) April 24, 2019
One tweet apparently shows Nehlen wearing a shirt depicting the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter. His tweet about 110 countries is apparently a reference to 109 countries that expelled the Jewish people, with the goal of making United States the 110th.
Posts purportedly by Nehlen quote verses from the Bible calling for violence against what he calls “the crimes of awful racist murder by the Talmudists.” He also calls for riots he dubs “Ferguson 2.0” in Chicago, vowing the outcome will be different. He calls the city “Chicongo.” He wants a thousand Tree of Life shooters to bloom.
He shows an image of masked men in military attire with weapons, emblazoned with “Nehlenwaffen.”
The photo of Nehlen wearing the face of the Tree of Life shooter appears to confirm the account belonged to Nehlen himself.
The FBI did not immediately respond to Grit Post’s requests for comment, but white-identity based violence has been called a persistent and pervasive threat by agency director Christopher Wray. Almost all incidents of domestic terror last year were conducted by right-wing ideologues.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.