Turning Point USA, a nationwide organization of student Republicans with more than 1,000 chapters, has removed the leader of their University of Nevada, Las Vegas, chapter after a viral video surfaced showing him declaring “white power” while his friend screamed racist slurs.
In the video, the student, identified as Riley Grisar, hugs a woman in bed while flashing the “OK” sign with his hand and says “white power.” In recent years, the alt-right has appropriated the “OK” sign to symbolize white power.
“We’re going to rule the country,” the woman says in the video.
“Fuck the nig–rs.” “Fuck ‘em all,” adds an unidentified male recording the video and flipping off the camera.
In viral video, leader of #LasVegas chapter of Turning Point USA seen giving Alt-Right “OK” sign while friend screams, “We’re gonna run the world! White Power! Fuck N*****s!” Was seen giving same hand sign at recent “Build the Wall” rally. CW: Racial Slurs https://t.co/f0IwuCWAsR pic.twitter.com/qcQIFTzk8i
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) May 10, 2019
Turning Point said in a statement early Friday morning that Grisar was removed as soon as the group became aware of the video.
“His comments were abhorrent, un-American, and disqualifying,” Turning Point said. “TPUSA has a zero-tolerance policy for hate.”
However, this isn’t an isolated incident.
There’s a demonstrable pattern of extremism and white supremacist ideology in TPUSA’s top ranks.
In March, Vice News reported that Identity Evropa, the violent white nationalist group that helped plan the Unite the Right extremist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, plotted to infiltrate TPUSA to gain clout among student GOP groups.
It’s not entirely clear how successful the campaign was, though members of Identity Evropa (also known as the American Identity Movement) have very publicly attempted to appeal to the group’s founder, Charlie Kirk, in the past. During one of Kirk’s events in October, an Identity Evropa member used a Q&A period to discuss white ethnostates.
Kirk responded: “You are verging on white nationalism, my friend. I want nothing to do with ethnonationalism or anything like that. I condemn, I disavow completely.”
In an interview with Vice News in March, Kirk acknowledged that he had a problem on his hands.
“Groups like this borrow mainstream political language, mix it with hate, in order to confuse students who are maybe unaware of their intentions,” he said. “It’s a moving target but one TPUSA is committed to identifying and calling out when it’s brought to our attention.”
In April, HuffPost revealed “a bevy of racists that TPUSA had hired to fill out its national brass.”
The group’s former national field director, Crystal Clanton, once texted a colleague: “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.” Her replacement, 22-year-old Shialee Grooman, tweeted in 2013, “All I get is nigger dick.” The group’s Midwest regional manager, Timon Prax, was forced out for bigoted statements. The list goes on.