GOP officials will share the stage with avowed white nationalists at Arizona rally to support insurrectionists
A rally planned for Saturday at the Arizona Capitol that aims to support “political prisoners" of the January 6 insurrection will feature speakers who are white nationalists, have endorsed Nazi ideology and are facing charges for storming the U.S. Capitol alongside GOP legislators.
The event is organized by a group that boasts two officials from the Arizona Senate's election “audit" on its leadership team.
One of the speakers, “American Greyson" Arnold, has used his social media pages to post memes lauding Nazis as the “pure race" and lament the American victory in World War II. He also called Adolf Hitler a “complicated historical figure."
Arnold is one of several announced speakers at a rally organized by a group called Look Ahead America, which is run by Matt Braynard, the former director of data and strategy for Donald Trump's 2020 campaign. Arizona's rally is one of several being held across the country, and comes a week after a rally Braynard planned in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18 largely fizzled.
The most recent slate of speakers also includes Republican state legislators Mark Finchem and Wendy Rogers — the former was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the latter cheered on the violent failed coup on social media — U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon, and congressional candidates Jeff Zink and Eli Crane.
The lineup also includes Micajah Jackson, who is facing federal charges for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. The FBI alleges that Jackson participated in a march alongside members of the Proud Boys chapter from Arizona and that he entered knowingly without permission.
GOP officials will share the stage with avowed white nationalists
Jackson's online persona regularly shares conspiracy theories, and both he and Arnold are considered “Groypers," a subset of the white nationalist community who often troll conservatives who they feel are not extreme enough. Though loosely organized and members of many different groups, groypers are almost all followers of white nationalist Nick Fuentes.
One of the main goals of groypers is to push conservatives in a white nationalist direction and one of their strategies is by presenting their views in a mainstream appearance or within mainstream organizations.
Arnold hosted an event at Lake Havasu earlier this year inspired by Fuentes dubbed “White Boy Summer." The idea was co-opted from Chet Hanks, son of actor Tom Hanks, who had published a series of social media posts critiquing white men's attire and behavior and later dubbed the summer of 2021 “White Boy Summer."
White nationalist and white supremacist groups co-opted the slogan as a call for action. Arnold's “White Boy Summer" event in Havasu featured Jackson as a speaker.
And two officials from the Arizona Senate's self-styled “audit" of the 2020 election in Maricopa County hold leadership posts in Look Ahead America, the group organizing Saturday's rally.
Senate “audit" liaison and former Secretary of State Ken Bennett is the “state chairman" for Look Ahead America, while Julie Fisher, his deputy liaison, is the group's “state operations coordinator." Fisher also worked for the Trump campaign in Arizona in 2020.
Bennett told the Arizona Mirror that he is on a “leave of absence" from the organization to focus on the election review, and was not involved in planning the event or choosing the speakers. He did not respond to additional questions about the speakers or their support of extremist and racist ideology.
Rogers, Finchem and Lamon did not respond to a request for comment about Arnold's past comments.
Direct ties to the failed coup
Jackson isn't the only speaker tied to the violent insurrection that aimed to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election victory.
Finchem attended Donald Trump's rally earlier that day and marched to the Capitol. Although he insisted that he never got within 500 yards of the Capitol building, footage emerged months later showing he was directly in front of the east steps at the Capitol after pro-Trump rioters had already broken through a series of barricades and police lines, and then smashed their way into the Capitol building.
And Zink, who is running for Congress against Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, has connections to the events: His son was arrested for trespassing, assault and damaging property. Zink has said that his son is falsely accused, but the FBI contends that photos from his son's own Facebook page and security camera footage put his son at the scene and show him damaging property.
Lamon, who is vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, has given millions of dollars to Looking Ahead America, according to reports by independent journalist Hunter Walker and Axios.
Concerns over security at the Sept. 18 event in D.C. prompted a large police presence, although only a small number of people eventually showed up. The permit for Saturday's event at the Arizona Capitol said the group expects only 50 people to show up.
Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: email@example.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.
A Trump adviser acknowledged in numerous emails last year that the administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was taking a "back seat" to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Dr. Steven Hatfill, a virologist who was heavily involved in the Trump administration's COVID response, repeatedly described how "election stuff" was taking precedence over COVID-19, according to emails obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, and shared with the Washington Post.
"Now with the elections so close, COVID is taking a back-seat, yet the disease is rearing it[s] ugly head again," Hatfill wrote to a colleague in October 2020.
After the election, Hatfill wrote in another email that he had "shifted over (from COVID response) to the election fraud investigation in November."
"In other emails obtained by the subcommittee, Hatfill further detailed his role in the White House's election challenges, including traveling to Arizona in the wake of that state's close election, passing along a 'Plan B for Trump Legal Fight' and sharing debunked rumors of Joe Biden's supposed family ties with a voting machine company," the Post reports.
Asked by a colleague in January why he was not "fixing the pandemic," Hatfill responded by citing his efforts to challenge the election outcome in Nevada, writing, "Because the election thing got out of control. I go where my team goes."
Hatfill's emails also show that his views about the pandemic were shaped by politics. He used a slur to refer to non-Trump voting states in an email about COVID-19 fatality rates, promoted the unproven Trumpian drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for virus, and called for the removal of Dr. Anthony Fauci from the White House's COVID Task Force.
"I actually lost it and told Fauci he was full of crap a couple weeks ago," Hatfill wrote in September.
"Two members of the COVID-19 Task Force (Drs, Fauci and Hahn) need to be urgently replaced with a competent multidisciplinary team of doctors and public health experts actually experienced in operational medicine," Hatfill wrote to Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, a few weeks later.
Mary Trump doesn't seem all that concerned by a lawsuit her uncle filed against her and the New York Times.
The twice-impeached one-term president sued her and the newspaper for $100 million over a Pulitzer Prize-winning report about Donald Trump's tax history, but his niece told The Daily Beast's "New Abnormal" podcast the case would fall apart under the lightest scrutiny.
"Probably my favorite thing about the suit is that he quotes the Times article extensively, which outlines all the awful things Donald had done, and then he quotes extensively from my book," Mary Trump said. "Thank you! Should I be angry, or should I send him flowers for selling more books for me? I think it's the latter. Donald and Meghan McCain are like my best salespeople."
She said the suit would never even reach the discovery stage because it was so poorly constructed.
"As my attorney Ted Boutrous, who's handling the First Amendment stuff, said, it's dead in the water," Mary Trump said. "It's doomed to fail because it's so shoddy. How did I damage him? Even if you can argue there was a contractual breach, which there isn't, what damage did I do to him? What, do I give him, a buck?"
The ex-president has been losing legal advisers left and right, and Mary Trump said the suit reflects that.
"I don't think he has lawyers left at this point who probably do anything other than operate out of strip malls," she said. "But he's probably worried about my lawsuit against him, because this is how the Trump family communicates: We sue each other."
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