Arizona’s extremist Rep. Paul Gosar has found himself at the center of a controversy involving white nationalists again.
Last week, the far-right Republican promoted on Instagram his upcoming appearance as a “featured guest” at an event hosted by the white nationalist American Populist Union in Tempe, Arizona. The scheduled date, April 20, is often celebrated by white nationalists and neo-Nazis because it’s Hitler’s birthday.
The Arizona Mirror was the first to report on Gosar’s scheduled appearance. Hours after the article was published, a Gosar campaign consultant said Gosar would not be attending the event and was instead planning to participate in a “farm tour” that day. The consultant said the APU had never contacted Gosar or his campaign.
Of course, that defies logic considering Gosar advertised the speech on his own Instagram account.
If you know Gosar at all, you most likely know this is unsurprising for him. He has a history of openly associating with white nationalist groups and dismissing those ties with implausible excuses. In February, he made an appearance via video at another white nationalist event — the America First Political Action Conference — organized by prominent white nationalist Nick Fuentes.
(Followers of Fuentes, who call themselves “groypers,” are closely aligned with the American Populist Union.)
As my colleague Steve Benen reported for the Maddowblog on Monday, Gosar hadn’t commented on his appearance at the February white nationalist event until late last week, offering the absurd excuse that his staff was to blame for sending his video address to the wrong group.
Whoops! Don’t you hate it when you accidentally send messages to white nationalist groups that perfectly align with their viewpoints, and are perfectly timed to be shown at their signature events?
His excuses for palling around with white nationalists are all the more unbelievable when you consider Gosar has a history of spreading extremist views. He attended the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Jan. 6 attack, where he shared a threatening tweet demanding Joe Biden concede the 2020 election.
Months later, he posted a video depicting a cartoon version of himself attacking Biden and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Gosar was censured by the Democrat-led House for sharing that video, but he’s avoided punishment from GOP leadership over his appearances alongside white nationalists — effectively guaranteeing that his extremist antics won't subside.