A Republican Congressional candidate running to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan is now championing the work of a white nationalist academic who portrays Jews as a scheming enemy of Western civilization.
Paul Nehlen’s endorsement of Kevin MacDonald’s book, The Culture of Critique, on Tuesday appeared to double down on previous posts that embraced anti-Semitic and white supremacist ideas—a trend that has worried rights’ groups.
“Currently reading,” Nehlen posted alongside a finger pointing down a photo of The Culture of Critique, which, among other things, blames Jews for anti-Semitic resentment.
Nehlen has been lauded by neo-Nazi and white nationalist commentators for embracing “alt-right” language and memes online. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke ran several political campaigns as both a Democrat and a Republican in the late 1980s and early ’90s, but Nehlen’s open embrace of Jewish conspiracies currently puts him in a league of his own on the far-right end of the spectrum. Newsweek reached out to Nehlen and to the Republican Party of Wisconsin for a comment about his social media presence but has not received a response.
“I hope everyone is praying for Nehlen,” Jared Wyand, an anti-Semitic poster on the social network Gab wrote Wednesday morning, suggesting that the Republican candidate had exposed himself to danger by coming out with his beliefs. “Absolutely heroic. … Everyday I read his page in pure amazement of [what he’s doing on] Twitter.”
One white nationalist account replied to Wyand by writing, “Saint Nehlen.” Another far-right account jokingly described the Republican as a “God emperor.” Another anonymous account took criticism of Nehlen as evidence that “Jews are your enemy,” referring to whites.
As with other posts issued by Nehlen on social media, the backlash against him was quick, with CNN’s Jake Tapper and others pointing out the subtext of what Nehlen was doing.
Nehlen then responded by accusing Tapper of having a list of “banned books planned for the bonfire.”
Nehlen also raised eyebrows last week when he employed “echoes” on Twitter while conversing with a lawyer, a trope used to single out the name of a Jewish person for derision by placing three parentheses around it. In a Twitter post dated December 19, he used it when speaking about a man who works for a rights group.
“Just admit you are a (((bigot))) Ari Cohn,” Nehlen wrote.
Nehlen also appeared on a white supremacist podcast this winter, and verbally described the echoes technique while discussing Jewish conservative commentator John Podhoretz.