The father of a man identified as a participant in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, publicly denounced his son’s “vile, hateful, and racist rhetoric and actions” on Monday.
“My name is Pearce Tefft, and I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local new stories over the last several months,” he wrote in a letter to North Dakota-Minnesota news site Inforum.
Tefft’s father said his son “did not learn” white nationalist rhetoric “at home” but attended the rally Saturday in Charlottesville, where he “was interviewed by a national news outlet while marching with reported white nationalists.”
“We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now,” he wrote. “Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer.”
He said Tefft’s “hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents.”
“He once joked, ‘The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven,'” Pearce Tefft said. “Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too.”
Peter Tefft on Friday posted a photograph of himself and the Confederate monument in Charlottesville that sparked the rally on a Twitter account where he also described himself as a “pro-white activist” and claimed, “Nazi is a racial slur against whites.”
— Pete Tefft (@TradiPeter) August 11, 2017
Nazi is a racial slur against whites. Some in attendance were National Socialists but not all. Ud know if the speakers were able to speak.
— Pete Tefft (@TradiPeter) August 13, 2017
In a Facebook post on Monday, Peter Tefft defended the alleged driver who rammed a car into a group of protesters on Saturday, killing one person and injuring dozens more.
“Fatal crashes happen all the time, and it is clear that the young man’s car was being attacked on all sides by a roving mob of Antifa when he slammed the gas pedal and accelerated,” Tefft claimed. “He will be acquitted because his life was clearly in danger.”
He also posted memes including Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character appropriated last year by white nationalists and internet trolls.
Twitter account @YesYoureRacist identified Tefft as a “charming Nazi” featured in a video shot Friday of white nationalists marching with torches.
“Cite a source for what you’re saying about white people being murdered in South Africa,” the cameraperson asked Tefft.
“Cite a source?” Tefft replied. “On the internet.”
“Where on the internet?” the cameraperson pressed.
“That’s a fucking rabbit hole,” a different marcher shouted into the camera, and appeared to knock it to the ground.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) August 12, 2017