Discover more from The Bulwark
Springtime for Nazis... On Twitter
Plus: The DeSantis Trolls
The big news today: The U.S. greenlights the M1 Abrams, which frees the Leopards to head to Ukraine.
Make sure you read John G. Ferrari and Giselle Donnelly in today’s Bulwark: “Make the Abrams the Free World’s Tank.”
And, Kevin McCarthy, who continues to protect both George Santos and MTG (“I will never leave that woman. I will always take care of her.”) says he will block Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House intelligence Committee because “integrity matters, and they have failed in that place.”
Who is Andrew Anglin?
When Twitter banned neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes back in December 2021, the site’s Head of Safety and Integrity, Yoel Roth said, “Hateful conduct has no place here.”
But Roth is gone, Elon Musk is in charge, and the Nazis are back.
Fuentes, last seen here as Donald Trump’s dinner guest, was reinstated just hours after another actual Nazi, Andrew Anglin— who once described his approach as “Non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism” — asked Musk to bring his friend back on Twitter.
Anglin tweeted Musk that the Holocaust-denying, Jew-baiting Fuentes is “a very nice person and I can vouch that he’ll never say anything mean.”
Musk, apparently took him at his word, and Fuentes made his triumphant return, with his usual restraint, dignity, and class.
Who is this new Musk-whisperer?
Back in 2017, The Atlantic profiled Anglin: “The Making of An American Nazi.”
Anglin is an ideological descendant of men such as George Lincoln Rockwell, who created the American Nazi Party in the late 1950s, and William Luther Pierce, who founded the National Alliance, a powerful white-nationalist group, in the 1970s. Anglin admires these predecessors, who saw themselves as revolutionaries at the vanguard of a movement to take back the country. He dreams of a violent insurrection.
But where Rockwell and Pierce relied on pamphlets, the radio, newsletters, and in-person organizing to advance their aims, Anglin has the internet. His reach is exponentially greater, his ability to connect with like-minded young men unprecedented.
Since then, Anglin has tried to rebrand himself as just a garden-variety American Nationalist, but this is mostly eye-wash for clueless billionaires. Notes the Anti-Defamation League:
In an effort to validate their leap from neo-Nazis to flag-waving American patriots, he and his followers equate American nationalism to white nationalism by claiming America was founded on anti-Semitic and racist principles.
Anglin is also one of the most vicious trolls on the far-right. I wrote about him in my book, “How the Right Lost Its Mind,” describing the explosion of harassment aimed at Jewish critics of Donald Trump at the time.
Many of the worst instances of harassment were connected to a website known as the Daily Stormer and its founder, a neo-Nazi activist named Andrew Anglin.
I first became aware of the site when I received, via email, a photoshopped image of my picture inside a gas chamber. A smiling Donald Trump wearing a German military uniform is poised to press the red “gas” button. The photoshopping tool had been created by the website and was widely used to troll both Jewish and non-Jewish critics of the Trump campaign.
The site takes its name from the German Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer, which was notorious for the viciousness of its anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews. After World War II, Der Stürmer’s publisher, Julius Streicher, was executed for crimes against humanity.
Anglin created the site in 2013 as an updated version of his previous website, which he called Total Fascism. As of this writing, the new website features pictures of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump and the slogan “Daily Stormer— The World’s Most Goal-Oriented Republican Website.”
It is important to emphasize again that the Alt Right is a mansion with many rooms and some very real divisions. Anglin, for example, is not a fan of Milo Yiannopoulos, who is depicted on the Daily Stormer with a cartoon of the Jewish nose superimposed on his face and is referred to as “Filthy Rat Kike Milo.”
But Anglin is also interested in emphasizing the common ground among the various disparate groups and interests that make up the white nationalist movement. In his own guide to the Alt Right, Anglin notes that the movement included various factions, but that they had all been led “toward this center-point where we have all met. The campaign of Donald Trump is effectively the nexus of that centerpoint.”
Impressed by Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigrants, Anglin endorsed Trump in 2015 and urged the readers of the Daily Stormer to “vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests.”
After Trump called for barring Muslims from the country, the site declared: “Heil Donald Trump— The Ultimate Savior.” But Anglin’s greatest accomplishment was the creation of what he calls his “Troll Army,” which he uses to attack political opponents, deployed to great effect in early 2016.
After GQ magazine published a profile of Melania Trump by writer Julia Ioffe, the future First Lady took to Facebook to denounce the piece as “yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting.” Anglin quickly mobilized his Troll Army, posting an article headlined: “Empress Melania Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!”
The post featured a picture of Ioffe wearing a Nazi-era yellow star with the word “Jude” and a call to action from Anglin:
“Please go ahead and send her a tweet and let her know what you think of her dirty kike trickery. Make sure to identify her as a Jew working against White interests, or send her the picture with the Jude star from the top of this article.”
The result was a torrent of abuse, including death threats against the journalist.
On Twitter, she was sent pictures of Jews being shot in the head and pictures of her wearing concentration camp stripes. When she answered her phone, a caller began playing a recording of a speech by Adolf Hitler.
“The irony of this is that today,” Ioffe told the British newspaper the Guardian, “I was reminded that 26 years ago today my family came to the US from Russia. We left Russia because we were fleeing antisemitism. It’s been a rude shock for everyone.”
The response from the GOP nominee was also troubling. When Trump was asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about the anti-Semitic attacks and death threats, the future president pointedly refused to condemn them, pleading ignorance and saying, “I don’t have a message to the fans. A woman wrote an article that was inaccurate.”
Trump’s refusal to denounce the Troll Army was greeted with delight by Anglin, who immediately posted: “Glorious Leader Donald Trump Refuses to Denounce Stormer Troll Army.” He exulted:
“Asked by the disgusting and evil Jewish parasite Wolf Blitzer to denounce the Stormer Troll Army, The Glorious Leader declined. The Jew Wolf was attempting to Stump the Trump, bringing up Stormer attacks on Jew terrorist Julia Ioffe. Trump responded to the request with “I have no message to the fans” which might as well have been “Hail Victory, Comrades!””
Fast-forward to 2023:
BONUS: Musk would like us to think that he Nazis are back because FREE SPEECH, right?
As it it turns out, Musk is more of a relativist than an absolutist: “Elon Musk Caves to Pressure From India to Remove BBC Doc Critical of Modi.”
[UPDATE: And…. he’s gone (for now)…. but Anglin remains on Twitter as of late Wednesday morning.]
The DeSantis Trolls
Via The Daily Beast: “Ron DeSantis’ Secret Twitter Army of Far-Right Influencers.”
According to five Republicans familiar with the discussions, the governor’s top lieutenants have quietly recruited a network of conservative social media influencers as part of a broader attempt to circumvent the mainstream press and appeal directly to GOP primary voters nationwide.
And who are, according to the three Republicans who received the initial pitch, among the ranks in DeSantis’ digital army?
Jack Murphy, a podcast host and self-described “alpha-male giga chad” involved in a quasi-professional cuckolding porn scandal. John Cardillo, a former Newsmax TV host and unregistered arms dealer who allegedly stiffed the Ukrainian government for $200,000 worth of body armor plates. Christian Walker, Herschel Walker’s right-wing influencer son who helped tank his father’s Senate campaign. David Reaboi, a Hungary-loving and Qatar-hating bodybuilder with longstanding ties to John Bolton. And Caleb Hull, an ex-Trump digital strategist who has said some very, very racist things.
This is the DeSantis A-team…
1. Lying to Parents About Trans Kids Hurts Kids
Imagine that you are the parent of a 15-year-old girl and discover that her school has been concealing her daytime behavior from you. Your daughter has joined a far-right Mormon spin-off cult, believes in plural marriage, has spoken of dropping out of school to get married, and declines to participate in physical education because wearing gym clothes violates her religious beliefs. Is it possible to imagine that any public school would keep parents in the dark in a case like that?
Of course not. Because teachers, counselors, and administrators would be certain that parents should be involved in something so potentially momentous for their daughter—even if she preferred not to confide in them.
Yet, as the New York Times and others have recently reported, schools across the nation are keeping even weightier information from parents—namely, that their children are transitioning to the other sex during the school day and that teachers and others are referring to the student by a different name and permitting him/her to use the bathroom and locker room of the opposite sex.
2. Do You Want to Know a Secret?
In today’s Bulwark, Bill Lueders argues that Trump’s behavior warrants prosecution, even if the classified materials he expropriated aren’t all that dangerous.
Trump took records that he knew did not belong to him and proclaimed that they did; he falsely claimed that he did not possess them and refused to return them when asked. Even if the documents pried from Trump’s possession do not pose a threat to national security, he deserves to face criminal charges for his mishandling of the situation and flagrant violation of the Presidential Records Act.
As Jonathan V. Last recently observed, “it’s not the documents [but] the obstruction” for which Trump is in hot water. “What we absolutely do know is that Biden’s team appears to have handled the breach by the book.” So, it seems, has former Vice President Mike Pence in responding to his lawyer’s newly announced discovery of classified documents in his house.
In contrast, “Trump’s team attempted to deceive and obstruct so as to retain possession of the documents.”
Sir, this is a Wendy’s.