By Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, CNN
Last spring, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and a small group of volunteers traveled to the southern border city of San Luis, Arizona, to clean up the city’s trash.
The small group included a blogger who has praised Nazi Germany; a Gosar-endorsed congressional candidate who would be removed from Twitter for calling for executing election officials; and a speaker removed from the 2020 Republican National Convention for sharing an antisemitic conspiracy theory describing an elaborate Jewish plan for global domination.
Since 2018, when Gosar dined with a European extremist who called for banning Islam from Europe, the far-right Arizona lawmaker has boosted the profiles of local antisemites, attended a conference organized by a prominent White nationalist, and repeatedly shared content from a Holocaust denial website.
Gosar is now facing scrutiny over his ties to extremists after speaking via video at a conference organized by White nationalist Nick Fuentes. Gosar spoke in person at the event last year. And both Gosar, and his colleague Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who spoke in person at the conference this year, have been condemned by Republican leaders over their appearances.
Gosar has also shared animated images of political violence against his colleagues. In November, Gosar shared a photoshopped anime video on social media showing him appearing to kill New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden. He was then censured by the House and stripped of his committee assignments, but only two Republicans — Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney — voted to censure Gosar for promoting violence.
Republican leadership has yet to discipline Gosar, or Greene for that matter, for their ties to White nationalists beyond harsh words, even though, three years ago, they stripped another congressman from House committees for lamenting that the terms White nationalist and White supremacist were considered “offensive.”
Gosar’s ties to extremists go back further than the violent social media posts he was censured for. He has long associations with White nationalists, a pro-Nazi blogger and far-right fringe players that have received little examination compared to his colleagues, according to an extensive CNN KFile review of Gosar’s events and social media posts over the years.
A spokesperson for Gosar declined to comment on specific questions about the congressman’s associates and instead offered a statement disparaging CNN’s reporting.
In his home state, Gosar engaged with local far-right Arizona figures, including sharing a post from Kyle Clifton, who has shared antisemitic images, and appeared in photos with Greyson Arnold, who has expressed admiration for Nazi Germany.
The April 2021 trip Gosar took to the border included Arnold, a far-right blogger who has shared a post saying “Jewish led colored hordes” are fighting the “White Christian West.” Arnold has repeatedly shared content saying the US fought on the wrong side in World War II, spread antisemitic conspiracy theories and falsely claimed there were “Jewish plans to genocide the German people.” He recently shared posts questioning teaching of the Holocaust, calling it the original “critical race theory.”
Arnold regularly posts on the social media site Telegram under the moniker “Pure Politics.” He wrote on Telegram he was invited by Gosar to the trip, and can be seen in various photos from attendees documenting the visit, which Gosar said was to pick up trash he claimed was left by “illegal aliens pouring over our border.”
The trip also included right-wing activist Mary Ann Mendoza, who was abruptly pulled from speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2020 after she spread an antisemitic conspiracy theory describing an elaborate Jewish plan for global domination. She later deleted the tweet and claimed that she hadn’t read “every post within the thread.” “My apologies for not paying attention to the intent of the whole message,” Mendoza said. “That does not reflect my feelings or personal thoughts whatsoever.”
Another attendee, congressional candidate Jarome Bell, would later be banned from Twitter for calling for executing election officials. He had previously posted in 2020 his partial support of instituting martial law and arresting people for “treason and sedition” after the 2020 election.
In October 2020, Gosar was interviewed by Arnold during an event in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where he told Arnold, “We really are in a civil war. It’s just that the gunfire hasn’t started.” And this past January, Gosar shared on his Instagram page a photo posted from Arnold at an event with Gosar this year.
Jared Holt, a fellow at the Atlantic Council and an expert on domestic extremism, told CNN that politicians like Gosar and Greene speaking and associating with these figures and groups gives those ideas new credibility and legitimacy.
On social media, Gosar regularly engages with far-right personalities and memes. Gosar has repeatedly promoted the work of and tagged Vincent James Foxx, who was recently banned from Twitter and has a history of deeply antisemitic statements. The Anti-Defamation League has labeled Foxx as a White supremacist.
Gosar shared on Instagram a screenshot of himself with Ethan Schmidt-Crockett, who harassed a store specializing in wigs for cancer patients last summer because it required customers to wear masks and is the founder of the AntiMaskersClub. Schmidt-Crockett was recently banned from the Arizona House after harassing a Democratic lawmaker by using a racial slur. In a video of Gosar and Schmidt-Crockett posted in December 2021, Gosar encourages the “Anti Vaxxers Club” to stay the course.
In November 2020, Gosar credited Mike Cernovich with a Phoenix “Stop the Steal” rally after the 2020 election, comparing Cernovich to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
Cernovich, a far-right commentator, is best known for his role peddling far-right conspiracy theories, including “Pizzagate,” which bizarrely and falsely claimed Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta were connected to a pedophilia ring run in a Washington, DC, pizza restaurant. The incident came to a head in December 2016 when a man fired an AR-15 inside the restaurant, saying he was attempting to find and rescue child sex slaves he believed were being held there. No one was injured.
Gosar has also shared a column on Twitter from the UNZ Review, a website that has published Holocaust denialism and columns in support of White nationalism.
He has shared a political consultant, Noel Fritsch, on his political campaigns with Paul Nehlen, the racist and antisemitic candidate who attempted to primary then-House Speaker Paul Ryan. The same consultant advised Bell, and Lauren Witzke, a 2020 congressional candidate who embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Gosar has also regularly appeared on fringe media, like the radio show of Dr. Bill Deagle, a conspiracy theorist who says the government created AIDS — and said such in his interview with Gosar to no pushback. He has also appeared multiple times on and shared content from the show of Stew Peters, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who has on multiple occasions called for hanging Dr. Anthony Fauci.
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