On Feb. 19, 2021, Holocaust-denying white nationalist podcaster Nick Fuentes announced the speaker lineup for his second annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC). Speakers included far-right pundit Michelle Malkin, antisemitic vlogger Vincent James Foxx, and white supremacist ex-congressman Steve King.
But Fuentes teased one more speaker whose identity would be revealed the evening of the event.
Unsurprisingly that special guest speaker was Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), a conspiracy theorist and vocal proponent of the antidemocratic “Stop the Steal” movement which alleges that President Trump lost the 2020 election due to widespread voter fraud.
Gosar’s speech focused on alleged censorship of conservative voices by “Big Tech” — particularly social media platforms. Gosar quoted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who voiced concerns that Sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 could lead to companies removing content in a racially discriminatory manner. But it was far-right voices Gosar was concerned with.
“Now today the Democrats do culturally what they cannot do legally: intimidation and suppression of ideas by cancelling, vandalism, doxing, and death threats,” Gosar said. “This is the new America they want. This is not the America of our fathers and our forefathers.”
He said that there were “many people” present who had “firsthand knowledge” of being deplatformed, “including Laura Loomer.” Gosar claimed the Islamophobic activist, who shrugged off the massacre of 51 Muslims in Christchurch, NZ, was “relegated to a third-class citizenship” after being banned from Twitter and other platforms.
When Loomer announced her run for Congress in 2020, Gosar was quick to endorse her. After she won the Republican primary last August, Gosar boasted that he was the “first member of Congress” to do so, and called her a “principled and determined fighter.”
Gosar continued his speech by stating that we are facing a “climate crisis,” but not one that’s “about the moon and the oceans.” “We have a climate crisis of intolerance,” he said. “A climate crisis of communists who suppress free speech, suppress our votes, suppress our citizens in favor of aliens, and undermine our republic.”
He added that the Republican Party “will not survive if we cannot speak and connect online.” And he warned that “patriots” need to “win back Congress, and the Senate, and the White House” and “rein in Big Tech,” or Democrats would “use Silicon Valley and the mainstream media to harm conservatives and our republic.”
Gosar’s decision to speak at AFPAC II, a conference organized by a fascist who recently spoke about killing legislators, was entirely predictable at this point. Gosar had previously been caught following overt white supremacists on Twitter, and routinely uses his two verified accounts to amplify extremist voices.
Gosar has repeatedly retweeted figures such as male supremacist Mike Cernovich, Neo-Nazi collaborator Jack Posobiec, and conspiracy theorist Mark Dice, among others. He touted Revolver News, a far-right website founded by Darren Beattie, a former Trump speechwriter who was fired for speaking at a white nationalist conference.
On several occasions Gosar has tweeted the “America First” slogan — or a variation thereof. He’s referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan death virus” and warned of “infected illegals surg[ing] across the border.” After a photo op at the border wall he called for a “halt” to “all immigration legal and illegal.”
Last June he retweeted the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant hate group founded by the late eugenicist John Tanton, and wrote, “But but but [undocumented immigrants] are just here dreaming of a better life…of crime, murder, rape, and copious drug sales to kill American citizens.”
And like Fuentes, Gosar had played a large role in spreading baseless conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election being “stolen” from Donald Trump. Gosar not only amplified tweets by “Stop the Steal” movement leaders like Ali Alexander and Mike Cernovich, he helped organize a protest in Maricopa County where he told a crowd of 150 people “This is our Alamo.”
One day after his speech at AFPAC II, where a crowd of racists and conspiracy theorists chanted “America first!” and “Destroy the GOP!,” Gosar was nevertheless allowed to participate at a CPAC panel alongside Mercedes Schlapp — wife of CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp.