A bevy of far-right internet personalities has claimed in recent days to have received invitations to the White House’s “Social Media Summit” on Thursday, further blurring the line between the mainstream Republican Party and fringe figures that cater to its farthest edges.
One of the people who claims they’ve been invited to the event has published anti-Semitic cartoons. Another has promoted the bizarre and wide-ranging QAnon conspiracy theory. A third is a celebrated meme-r whose creations have been tweeted by President Trump.
The White House does not seem eager to confirm the invitees.
Declining to confirm an actual invite list, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in an email, “This event will bring together digital leaders for a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.”
Yet so far, several people have claimed they received White House invites.
Perhaps most notably, the massively popular right-wing cartoonist Ben Garrison claimed on Twitter Friday to have been invited to attend. While most of Garrison’s cartoons are dense word clouds focused on the Democratic establishment, some have been described as anti-Semitic and xenophobic.
Man who drew a cartoon the @ADL calls “blatantly anti-Semitic” says he was invited to the White House for a social media summit https://t.co/Fzckv4rJbD https://t.co/nmH1zyCV7C pic.twitter.com/hvz4BpLNVt
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 6, 2019
New #BenGarrison Cartoon- The Two Faced Democrat Party –
The Democrats can’t have it both ways. Their love of diversity also means they love divisiveness. The Balkanization of culture in America does not bring about harmony. read the rest at https://t.co/jBYhTngWCJ pic.twitter.com/kupAthqAnK
— GrrrGraphics Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) April 3, 2019
— GrrrGraphics Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) May 13, 2016
@AOC's Bar – Drink up Suckers! #New #BenGarrison #cartoon for #SocialismNeverWorks #OcasioCortez To the uneducated, #AOC ’s bar offers you the best in socialist hard liquor. To the rest of us, it just looks like kool-aid from Jonestown. #MABA Post at https://t.co/LSBe59C8Rj pic.twitter.com/iy73IM0BR5
— GrrrGraphics Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) February 13, 2019
— GrrrGraphics Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) June 20, 2017
A few days earlier, pro-Trump internet personality and broadcaster Bill Mitchell announced that he, too, would be going to the White House.
Though primarily known for his toothy grin and non-stop praise of the 45th president, Mitchell (pictured above) also frequently veers into the conspiratorial.
For example, he’s promoted the labyrinthian “QAnon” conspiracy theory, which obsesses over “deep state” machinations and the President’s secret supposed effort to round up pedophiles and other criminals, following the breadcrumbs of an anonymous insider (or insiders) posting on the internet. The full QAnon theory, having expanded over several months, functions more as a network of believers and is practically incomprehensible to outsiders. (Mitchell would hardly be the first QAnon believer to visit the White House.)
Another right-wing personality who’s said he’s been to the White House was there just a few days ago.
I can confirm, I did in fact visit the White House and meet with President Trump in the Oval office with my family and @mad_liberals and his guest.
You should have seen Mad_Liberal's face when the "White House Tour" I promised him turned into a meet and greet in the Oval!
— Carpe Donktum🔹 (@CarpeDonktum) July 5, 2019
Trump has shared several of Donktum’s creations, most recently a video clip that showed Trump on a TIME magazine cover as a deathless, eternal president. Trump also tweeted Donktum’s video showing Joe Biden feeling himself up, and another one mocking technical glitches during MSNBC’s recent Democratic presidential primary debate.
“Actually being there was really, really cool,” Donktum told former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka about his White House visit on Gorka’s radio show Friday.
The list doesn’t end there. According to the Washington Post, invitations have been extended to the Heritage Foundation, as well as the right-wing activist stalwarts PragerU, the Media Research Center and Turning Point USA. The founder of selective video editing outlet Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, also says he’ll be there.
On Monday, Breakfast Media’s Andrew Feinberg reported that Ali Alexander, the GOP operative who tweeted during Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) appearance on the debate stage last month that Harris was “*not* an American Black,” had also been invited to the White House.
Reportedly missing from the invite list? Facebook and Twitter.