Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) does not want to be described as a “Nazi” or a “white supremacist.”
That complaint came in an issue of the congressman’s weekly newsletter that was published on Sunday. His description of being “smeared” came about two weeks after TPM published a report detailing substantial evidence of links between a member of Gosar’s staff and neo-Nazi leader Nick Fuentes. Later in the newsletter where Gosar argued that he is not a “white supremacist,” he linked to a website that has a history of publishing virulently racist content, including pieces that railed against the “Negro problem” and attacked abolitionists for criticizing slaveowners.
“Bear this in mind: you will see conservatives like me and Ron Desantis [sic] and President Trump called defamatory names like ‘neo-NazI’ or ‘white supremacist,’” Gosar wrote. “Know that this is the leftist media working in tandem with the Biden regime to attack us.”
Gosar’s comments were ostensibly pegged to a report from the Media Research Center, a conservative group that has for decades levied charges of liberal bias at institutions and the media. In this case, MRC was attacking the Department of Homeland Security’s “Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program.” MRC’s report was largely based on a chart shared by a professor at an event sponsored by a university that was one of the program’s grantees. The professor’s chart identified mainstream conservative organizations like Fox News, the National Rifle Association, and the Heritage Foundation as playing a role in the “Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization.” MRC described this and other statements made by professors from institutions that received grants from the DHS program as evidence the Biden administration is engaged in “efforts to target conservatives, Christians and the Republican Party going forward.”
In his newsletter, Gosar took MRC’s conclusions several steps further, describing “a secret government program under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whereby Christians, Republicans and conservatives are deemed ‘Nazis’ and ‘white supremacists.’” (Contrary to Gosar’s claims, the grant program is not remotely secret and the terms he attributed to the program were not directly used by anyone quoted in the MRC report.)
After this hyperbolic description of the TVTP grants, Gosar tied the issue to his own political problems.
“This comes as no surprise to me,” Gosar wrote. “Despite my vehement opposition to the ongoing support of actual Nazi brigades in Ukraine by our country using taxpayer money (not approved by Congress) and in spite of my 12-year record supporting Israel and Jewish causes, I frequently get labeled and smeared as a ‘Nazi’ or a ‘supremacist’ or ‘anti-Semite.’”
Gosar went on to attribute these criticisms of him to what he suggested were falsehoods promulgated by “leftists” and the press.
“I can’t do anything about this according to the courts,” Gosar said. “We’ve been told we have no legal remedies and the media can simply lie. So they do, often. I can only share the truth here.”
While Gosar did not share any specific examples of instances where he was described as a white supremacist, he has a long history of ties to extremism. Since he took office in 2011, Gosar has associated with a variety of far right, white supremacist, and militant groups in the U.S. and abroad. Gosar appeared at the “America First” conference hosted by Fuentes — who regularly uses racial slurs and praises Hitler — on two separate occasions. Gosar’s links to the far right have also included promotion of extremist activists and websites through his official social media channels and newsletter. Earlier this month, TPM detailed substantial evidence indicating Gosar’s digital director, Wade Searle, is behind an online persona known variously as “Chikken” and “ChickenRight” that Fuentes has called one of “the strongest soldiers of the movement.” Our report also highlighted links between an intern in Gosar’s office and the “Chikken” posts, which included comments attacking Jews, Black people, and Asians.
Gosar, who once offered a mild criticism of Fuentes in response to backlash, has yet to respond to TPM’s report on the “ChickenRight” accounts. He and his office also did not answer requests for comment Tuesday for this story.
Gosar’s Sunday newsletter included a series of news items below his objection to being “labeled and smeared as a ‘Nazi’ or a ‘supremacist’ or ‘anti-Semite.’” At the top of the list was a page reprinting a statement from Gosar’s office on a website called “Prescott eNews.” Since 2020, that site has been owned by David Stringer, a former Arizona Republican state legislator who resigned in 2019 after it was revealed that he was arrested and accused of paying underage boys for sex in 1983. Stringer has previously denied those allegations and charges related to the case were later expunged as part of a plea agreement. In a statement to TPM after the initial publication of this story, Stringer noted the matter did not result in criminal charges.
“You have alluded to allegations relating to ‘child pornography’ and ‘sex crimes.’ These allegations dating from 1983 did not result in conviction. They were expunged by the Maryland judiciary. I have no criminal record. In 1984 the DC Bar Association reviewed the matter and took no action,” Stringer said, adding, “I am retired from the practice of law in DC and Maryland, but remain active in Arizona. I am a member in good standing of all three bars.”
Stringer has his own history of extremism. During his time in office, he made headlines for his racist comments on multiple occasions.
In October 2022, Stringer conducted an interview with Yavapai County Oath Keepers leader Jim Arroyo for the Prescott eNews. During that conversation, Stringer revealed he regularly attended meetings of the militant group.
“I’ve been to your meetings off and on for at least the last five or six years or so,” Stringer told the Oath Keepers leader.
In his statement to TPM, Stringer stressed he is not an Oath Keepers member. He also alluded to the fact Arroyo’s chapter of the organization had split with the group’s controversial founder, Stewart Rhodes, who, earlier this month was sentenced to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy charges related to his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“I have never been a member of the Oath Keepers, but I have spoken at their meetings during political campaigns. Many local officials and candidates speak at Oath Keepers meetings, including County Supervisors, Sheriffs, County Attorneys, and current and former legislators like myself,” Stringer said. “I think it’s fair to say that the Oath Keepers’ brand has been tainted by Jan 6th. But the local Yavapai County Chapter has more of the atmosphere of an American Legion Post, or a fraternal organization, than anything strange or extremist.”
Stringer’s site has regularly published pieces from the white supremacist magazine and website American Renaissance. That publication is run by Jared Taylor. Both American Renaissance and Taylor have long documented ties to neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Klan leaders. Prescott eNews has run over 20 pieces from American Renaissance, including multiple columns authored by Taylor. These articles have included a claim that “black youngsters run in the streets and wreak havoc,” the slur “Chinaman,” debunked race science, and attacks on 19th century abolitionists for their criticism of slaveholders. Prescott eNews has placed a disclaimer over these extreme articles noting the “opinions do not necessarily represent those of the staff of Prescott eNews or its publisher.”
In his statement to TPM, Stringer defended the site’s decision to publish American Renaissance and Taylor. He described Taylor’s writings as “good scholarship and well done.”
“We republish one or two articles a week from the American Renaissance. These articles typically have a racial theme. They are published with a disclaimer that they don’t necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Race is a major issue in our society. It’s a subject people are interested in reading about,” Stringer said, later adding, “I think there is a difference between ignorant and mean spirited racism, and racial awareness. Jared Taylor has interesting things to say on the subject of race. I don’t have to agree with everything he says to find him worth reading. And publishing.”
Along with blatantly white supremacist content, since 2022, Prescott eNews has published at least 30 articles about Gosar including flattering news coverage, direct copies of his statements, and columns written by the congressman. This extensive library of pro-Gosar content included an op-ed praising him as “a statesman.” Gosar has also granted multiple interviews to the site.
On May 21, Prescott eNews addressed TPM’s reporting on the links between Gosar’s staff and Fuentes with a piece by Stringer and one of the site’s editors, Anita Cohen, that defended both the congressman and the neo-Nazi leader.
The column pointed to Gosar’s support for the Israeli government. Both authors also touted their own personal bonafides.
“Allow me to note that the co-author of this piece, Prescott eNews Editor, Anita Cohen, is an observant Jew and personally acquainted with Congressman Gosar,” they wrote. “Your humble servant, the Publisher of Prescott eNews, has years of personal experience working with Jewish lawyers and judges and law school professors.”
In other words, Stringer argued that he knows Jewish lawyers, and so he cannot be anti-Semitic; Gosar has Jewish defenders and so he, too, cannot be anti-Semitic.
This bizarre and stereotypical defense was followed up with a decidedly favorable assessment of the Hitler-praising, Holocaust-denying Fuentes.
“Mr. Fuentes, for those who don’t know, is a political prodigy of the far right,” the article stated. “He began speaking out on the Great Replacement and cultural decay while still in his teens. “Unquestionably, he is a provocateur of the first rank, given to hyperbole and rhetorical excess. At the age of 24, his podcasts and talent for political organization have brought him national celebrity, especially with Generation Z. He has been smeared as an antisemite for committing the unpardonable sin of denouncing ‘woke’ Jews in high places. Even worse, he refuses to apologize for being white. And Christian.”
The piece concluded by arguing that Gosar had been “wronged” by those who criticized him for having staffers associated with the neo-Nazi leader. Stringer and his editor also praised Gosar for not dismissing the staffers in question.
“Caving in is never respected or rewarded,” they wrote.
This story was updated with quotes from a statement David Stringer provided a day and a half after the article’s original publication.