Updated | On July 7, 2020, the Twitter account for VDARE, an influential white nationalist hate group, teased a “[b]ig time guest” for its Social Distancing podcast. That guest, as it turns out, was Gavin Wax, the president of the New York Young Republican Club (NYYRC). Wax had recently made appearances on Fox and Friends Weekend and The Ingraham Angle to discuss his rally in defense of a statue of Teddy Roosevelt in Manhattan.
Wax was interviewed by far-right commentator John Derbyshire, who was filling in for VDARE founder and white nationalist Peter Brimelow. Derbyshire has spoken at white nationalist conferences, and was fired by National Review in 2012 after he wrote an article advising readers to “[a]void concentrations of blacks not known to you personally.”
During the interview, Derbyshire and Wax discussed the direction of the Republican Party. “Do you still think that there’s anything to hope for from the American Republican Party as it is currently organized?” Derbyshire asked. “Or are they just a waste of space, as I constantly find myself thinking? Do we have anything to hope for from them?”
Wax cited a June 30, 2020 monologue by Tucker Carlson in which the Fox News host told viewers that the Republican Party was their only hope. Wax agreed that the Republican Party is one of the “few, if any, institutions left to counter the Left” and that people have no choice but to “work within this two-party dichotomy.”
He added that conservatives need to influence institutions from within, shifting them to the Right. “We should infiltrate institutions,” Wax said. “We should shift it. We should shift it to make them more conservative, to make them adhere more to traditional values, to the love of nation, love of country, love of God, love of family. And by doing so, we can slowly move us in the right direction.”
Derbyshire responded that Trump is “somewhat working against us” in that regard, by publicly denouncing immigration hardliners like Jeff Sessions. Trump backed Tommy Tuberville in the Alabama Senate GOP primary runoff over his former Attorney General out of spite. Tuberville went on to win the race and will face off against Democratic Senator Doug Jones in November.
Derbyshire also pointed out that Senator Mitch McConnell was working against Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former Secretary of State who announced a Senate run after his failed 2018 gubernatorial campaign. McConnell told Politico that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was his “first choice” for the seat, but his hopes were dashed when Pompeo announced he would not run for Senate in Kansas.
Kobach was the architect of Kansas’ unconstitutional voter suppression scheme, and white supremacists are currently promoting his Senate bid. Derbyshire referred to Sessions and Kobach as the “kind of people we need active in Washington on behalf of the Republican Party.” Wax told Derbyshire he is a “strong supporter of both Sessions and Kobach” and even had dinner with Kobach in New York City “not too long ago.”
Wax praised Trump for his July 4th speech at Mt. Rushmore, calling it Trump’s best speech since his 2017 speech in Warsaw. During the Mt. Rushmore speech, Trump denounced a “left-wing culture revolution” that is “designed to overthrow the American revolution.” Wax was also hopeful because Trump had been retweeting Tucker Carlson, who promotes white nationalist rhetoric.
Gavin Wax is no stranger to reactionary and anti-immigrant politics, however.
He has, for example, tweeted that “Jesus was white,” called Black Lives Matter a “Marxist anti-white movement hellbent on destroying civil society,” and denounced what he called “[e]thnomasochism.” On one occasion he called for Rep. Ilhan Omar to be “deported.” And he commented that Minneapolis resembled a “third world country” in the wake of riots over George Floyd’s death.
In a July 3, 2020 tweet, Wax wrote mockingly that the “victims of European oppression were the cannibalistic and human sacrificing tribes of the New World.” He added that Indigenous people were “peaceful and advanced peoples who sacrificed children to Tezcatlipoca” — an Aztec deity — and that we “should build a statue to them to honor their great and beautiful memory!”
A self-described “immigration hawk,” he has advocated for a “complete halt to immigration, ending dual citizenship, [and] revising birthright citizenship.”
McCarthy And Powell
In early April he declared his support for the late Joseph McCarthy, a Republican Senator from Wisconsin best remembered for smearing opponents as “Communists” during the “Red Scare.” McCarthy was censured by the Senate following the Army-McCarthy hearings during which he accused the U.S. Army of having been infiltrated by Communists.
In June he announced that “Enoch Powell was right,” in reference to the notoriously racist British politician.
Powell viciously attacked immigration during his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968. Powell called for the mass “re-emigration” of immigrants of color living in Britain, said that by accepting immigrants Britain was “heaping up its own funeral pyre,” and quoted a constituent who said that “in fifteen or twenty years’ time the Black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”
Gavin Wax’s sympathy toward extremist figures does not end with McCarthy or Powell.
The Proud Boys And Gavin McInnes
In October 2018 Wax attended an event hosted by the Metropolitan Republican Club that starred Gavin McInnes, an unabashed bigot who founded the Proud Boys — a violent neo-fascist hate group — in 2016. McInnes was invited to reenact the assassination of a Japanese socialist politician for the audience’s amusement.
(Ian Walsh Reilly, who invited McInnes to the event on behalf of the Metropolitan Republican Club and was later elected as the group’s president, co-founded the Yorkville Group, a consulting firm that lists Wax as a partner. The website for the Yorkville Group listed Alternative for Germany, an Islamophobic, ultranationalist political party, as a client according to the Daily Beast.)
Following the event, several Proud Boys attacked anti-racist protesters while yelling homophobic slurs. Additional footage confirmed that the Proud Boys instigated this confrontation, and ten Proud Boys were charged in connection with the incident. Two of them, Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman, were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.
Wax witnessed what was reported as a separate brawl that resulted in the arrests of three anti-racist protesters, and was interviewed by BuzzFeed News. In an October 26, 2018 article for American Thinker, Wax whitewashed the Proud Boys as a “patriotic fraternal group who like America and beer,” and attacked the “spineless conservatives” who refused to defend them.
(As recently as July 7, 2020, Wax tweeted that Gavin McInnes “will always be one of my favorite political commentators.”)
In an October 14, 2018 article for Proud Boy Magazine, Luke Rohlfing embedded a tweet by The Schpiel, a right-wing online publication founded and maintained by Wax. “Read about our site’s publisher run in with #Antifa last night after leaving the Gavin McInnes event at the @metgopclub,” it read.
The Twitter account @theschpiel, which archives show was the official account for Wax’s publication, was suspended some time in 2018. In October 2018, shortly after the fight between the Proud Boys and anti-racist protesters, the account @NYCAntifa posted photos of tweets by @theschpiel that appeared to defend the Proud Boys and advocate violence.
In response to a tweet about the fight by WNBC-TV reporter Myles Miller, @theschpiel wrote, “This is what happens when you stand up against terrorist leftist mobs in America.” In a tweet directed at HuffPost reporter Luke O’Brien, @theschpiel wrote that President Trump “might have to suspend elections to combat leftist ANTIFA terror.”
The most alarming of the tweets was directed at Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King, and appeared to reference a lynching. King tweeted praise for anti-fascists, writing that he was “glad that we have people in this country who stand up to fascism and bigotry.” In response @theschpiel wrote, “You will swing at the gallows right beside them, hypocrite.”
I could not find archived copies of these tweets, but circumstantial evidence points to their existence. For example, there is a response to Shaun King’s tweet from a suspended account. Another Twitter user wrote “Why would you say that?” in a tweet directed at the suspended account which, as it turns out, was @theschpiel.
It is unknown whether Wax personally ran the @theschpiel account, though his Twitter bio lists him as the operator of The Schpiel’s current Twitter account: @Schpiel_Tweets. The content of the tweet directed at Shaun King was also not substantively different from that of a tweet Wax sent on July 7, 2020. “How did it end for Robespierre?” it reads. “Will Antifa and the BLM movement meet the same fate? We need a Thermidorean Reaction.”
This is a reference to the counter-revolution in which Maximilien Robespierre and his closest associates were overthrown and executed.
Rebuilding The NYYRC From The Ground Up
During the July 1, 2020 episode of Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, Raheem Kassam, the former editor-in-chief of Human Events and Breitbart News London, played footage of Gavin Wax’s Manhattan rally to protect Teddy Roosevelt’s statue. Kassam lauded Wax for putting on the event, but told his audience that “it’s not just putting together a protest” that Wax has been “so successful at.”
“Few people outside of maybe the Republicans in New York will know this, but you kind of took over the New York Young Republicans with our producer Vish Burra here from the ground up and rebuilt the organization,” he bragged. Unsurprisingly, under Wax’s leadership, the NYYRC is forging connections to fringe figures and organizations.
In May, the NYYRC announced that white nationalist Katie Hopkins would be its “first guest speaker” on NYYRC Live. Wax retweeted the NYYRC acount and wrote “Don’t miss it folks!” Hopkins, who was banned from Twitter, once referred to another Twitter user as a “Jigga-Boo,” and called for a “homeland” for “white Brits.”
She has also been instrumental in promoting the racist myth that a “white genocide” is taking place in South Africa. In an interview with South African white nationalist Simon Roche, Hopkins claimed white Britons are being “outnumbered” by people of color and warned that by 2050 “Muslim births [will] outnumber births to any other religion.” And she told misogynistic radio host Jesse Lee Peterson that Britain “will fall to Islam.”
In mid-July, Wax announced a partnership between NYYRC and Lega Giovani — the youth wing of Italy’s far-right Lega Nord, a political party that has become a safe haven for racists, xenophobes, and fascists.
Lega Nord’s Federal Secretary, former Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, narrowly avoided a kidnapping trial over a 2018 decision to block an Italian coast guard ship with roughly 150 migrants aboard from docking off the coast of Sicily. (In 2019 he blocked yet another ship, that one carrying 135 migrants.) In 2019 Salvini refused to participate in Italy’s annual celebration of the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic.
And it was a failed Lega Nord candidate, Luca Traini, who shot six migrants in early February 2018. Traini reportedly gave a stiff-armed fascist salute and shouted “Italy for the Italians!” when he stepped out of his vehicle before being detained. Traini claimed the attack was revenge for the murder of an 18-year-old Italian woman by a Nigerian immigrant, and is serving a 12 year sentence.
Salvini condemned the shooting but added that “unchecked immigration brings chaos, anger” as well as “drug dealing, thefts, rapes, and violence.”
On July 13, 2020, Wax congratulated Polish President Andrzej Duda on his reelection. “Good to see that Duda won in Poland! Great stuff!” he tweeted. That same day he congratulated Duda on behalf of the NYYRC, and lauded him as a “staunch ally of the US” who “has been steadfast in his defense of Western values in Poland & across Europe.” He tagged antisemitic conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec in the tweet.
Duda is an anti-gay extremist who called the LGBT movement a “foreign ideology” and likened it to Soviet-style Communism. He also vowed to ban education about LGBT issues in Polish schools and prohibit same-sex marriage and adoption. “In Poland’s constitution, it should be explicitly stated that anyone in a same-sex relationship is forbidden from adopting a child,” he said at a campaign event.
It should also be noted that the official NYYRC Twitter account follows a number of extremist figures and organizations, including: white nationalist Peter Brimelow and his organization VDARE; author Ilana Mercer, who promotes the myth of “white genocide” in South Africa; white nationalist YouTube personality Paul Ray Ramsey; Brittany Sellner (née Pettibone), a fixture on white nationalist podcasts and early Pizzagate promoter; anti-Black author Colin Flaherty; and antisemitic former pick-up artist Roosh Valizadeh and his website Return of Kings.
Both NYYRC and Gavin Wax even follow a small, white supremacist “groyper” account that recently tweeted “#WhitePrivilege is a myth. black people can get ahead without working as hard because they are black and they get free shit just for being black.”
Gavin Wax did not respond to requests for comment for this piece.
[This article originally and incorrectly listed Ian Walsh Reilly as a member of the Proud Boys. This article has been corrected accordingly.]