Hours after Turning Point USA denounced the president-elect of its University of Nevada, Las Vegas chapter for endorsing “white power” in a now-viral video, the college conservative organization told TPM that the group has a “really great track record” on outreach to minority communities.
A spokesperson for TPUSA told TPM in a Friday interview that the student, widely identified as chapter president-elect Riley Grisar, was “removed as soon as the video was brought to the attention of Turning Point leadership.”
The spokesperson said TPUSA wanted to avoid putting an unfair spotlight on Grisar, who in a recently surfaced video is seen joking around with a woman who screams “Fuck the n******!” After the anarchist news outlet It’s Going Down publicly flagged the video, the group put out an official statement about him.
“You walk a fine line and a balance of, are you trying to publicize something and destroy a kid’s life even though he was obviously in the wrong, or do you try and deal with it internally and self-police and correct the problem?” the spokesperson explained.
“For the sake of the students involved, you don’t instantly know that that’s their current position or maybe the kid was inebriated when he said those things, or whatever,” he added, before condemning Grisar’s words as “terrible.”
And while the majority of TPUSA’s “thousands and thousands” of student members are “fantastic,” he said, “you want to handle with a delicate touch when it’s somebody’s future, and future reputation.”
TPUSA, he said, “is very, very public and on-the-record about its stance on racism, on hate. And it actually, as much as the media says it’s the other way, has a really great track record of reaching out to minority communities.” He noted the group’s Young Black Leadership Summit and Young Latino Leadership Summit.
TPUSA has struggled with racist members in the past, often denouncing them only after their inflammatory comments have gone viral. TPM asked why leadership waited, in the spokesperson’s words, “two or three days” after learning about the video to release the statement.
“You don’t know that it’s going to get out,” TPUSA’s spokesperson said, stressing the word.
He added, after being prodded on the timeline again: “I think it’s a responsible thing to do, to try and handle internally. But obviously, the statements that were made on the video are abhorrent and we certainly stand by our official statement.”