Why Is This Republican Congressman Following White Nationalists On Twitter?

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 14: Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., talks with reporters outside a meeting of House Republican Steering Committee meeting in Cannon Building, November 14, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group

Anonymous internet bigots are a dime a dozen. But when a member of Congress subscribes to a live feed of their thoughts, we take note.

Sure, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) “follows” some usual suspects on his personal Twitter page. Among the 792 accounts the congressman keeps up with on the social network are national parks, think tanks, journalists and local restaurants in Arizona’s Fourth District. The list includes Trump supporters, plenty of “Qanon” conspiracy theory believers, accounts with anti-immigrant beliefs that mirror Gosar’s own and even the rapper Drake.

But a few are out-and-out white nationalists. Gosar’s office didn’t respond to TPM’s requests for comment on how the congressman came to follow these accounts.

One of the accounts, @marktsword, referred in a recent tweet to “ZOG,” or “Zionist-occupied government,” a reference to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews secretly control various governments. The account used a racial slur in a tweet just days ago, and the same day called for “a leader who can rile the masses of Whites with their eye’s [sic] closed.”

Another account Gosar follows has “88” in its handle. On far-right corners of the internet, that number refers to the eighth letter in the alphabet: 88 is a stand-in for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler.” The Twitter user wrote at one point that she’s glad she sends her daughter to a school that’s “99% white.” On Monday, responding to a group picture of a multi-racial classroom in Ireland, the account tweeted “Sad so many whites hate their own people so much that they cheer for the blatant eradication of them.” Elsewhere, she referred to black people as “animals.”

TPM started looking into Gosar’s web presence last week when he “liked” a post from Stefan Molyneux, a popular right-wing YouTuber who made a case for white nationalism in a documentary about Poland he released in December. Gosar follows Molyneux on Twitter, too.

Gosar is active on the account. On Wednesday night, for example, he tweeted what appeared to be a homemade travelogue-style video documenting his air travel, tagging the right-wing internet personality Mike Cernovich. Gosar created his personal account in June 2017 — long after creating a professional account, @RepGosar, in 2011 — and has “liked” more than 1,600 posts since then.

The congressman is also known for letting loose on the platform. In April, he called a Democratic critic of his a “porn loving whiny bitch” and “a little bitch.”

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