Pennsylvania Republican refuses to say why white nationalists keep showing up at his rallies
Republican Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (Facebook photo).

A group of unabashed former white nationalists took part in a gun rally organized by a Pennsylvania Republican -- and it's not the first time he's been associated with racist groups.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) hosted a pro-gun rally April 30 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, which drew at least two participants wearing T-shirts that promoted the American Guard organization, reported Pittsburgh City Paper.

The Anti-Defamation League has determined the group, which formed two years ago in Indiana before going national last year, is a white supremacist organization -- which its founder doesn't exactly deny.

“Several of us are former white nationalists," said group founder Brien James. "We are not ashamed of the choices we have made in life. We learn from them and move forward.”

James changed the name of his Vinlanders Social Club -- a neo-Nazi group with a history of violence -- to American Guard in 2016, and he says the group is committed to “voluntary community protection, activism, and service based around the ideals of American Constitutional Nationalism and the preservation of western culture.”

The group's Facebook page promotes anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim themes, President Donald Trump's agenda -- and urged followers to take part in Metcalfe's rally.

Other participants at Metcalfe's gun rally included state Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Murrysville) and NRA news host Cam Edwards, while GOP gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango was also in attendance.

Metcalfe's office refused to respond to a request for comment on American Guard members taking part in the statehouse event.

The GOP lawmaker invited Bob Vandervoort, head of the "nativist extremist group" ProEnglish, to testify in 2015 on behalf of Metcalfe's "English Only" legislation.

Former state Rep. Leslie Acosta described Vandervoort as a "white supremacist," and Metcalfe defended him by drawing a distinction between white supremacy and white nationalism.

"One group believes this premise that the white or Caucasian race is superior to everyone else, and the nationalists just want a white or Caucasian majority in the country," Metcalfe said in 2015.

Metcalfe has angered constituents by mocking survivors of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting and refusing to advance Democratic legislation, and the state's Democratic Party has said he's unfit for office.

“Metcalfe’s racist and homophobic outbursts and blatant admission that he blocks legislation from advancing for the sole reason that it is sponsored by Democrats is why Pennsylvanians distrust Harrisburg," said Sinceré Harris, executive director of the state Democratic Party. "Not only is he a disgusting human being, he is incredibly unfit to run the House’s State Government Committee and Mike Turzai must revoke his chairmanship immediately.”