The head of an influential conservative political action committee in Texas is accused of reportedly meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes.
Last year, former President Donald Trump came under fire for dining with Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, who was also accused of anti-Semitism. West said Trump was “really impressed” with Fuentes during the encounter, although the former president later insisted he “didn’t know” the white nationalist.
Fuentes said in a video in August that he had decided to “forget the Constitution” and instead “pledge allegiance to Donald Trump.”
According to the Texas Tribune, Jonathan Stickland, a former Republican state representative and president of the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, hosted a meeting with Fuentes over the weekend at the Forth Worth headquarters of a consulting firm he owns.
Fuentes, who advocates for “a homeland” for whites and denies the reality of the Holocaust, was reportedly photographed entering Strickland’s Pale Horse Strategies headquarters on Sunday morning and remained in the building for more than six hours.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a favorite in far-right circles since he was acquitted of murder charges after fatally shooting two Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020, also reportedly attended the meeting.
Texas Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan on Monday cited the ongoing and volatile Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemned Strickland’s meeting with Fuentes.
“Jonathan Stickland, president of Defend Texas Liberty PAC, spent six hours fraternizing with a notorious, anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer who denies the existence of the Holocaust,” Phelan said in a statement shared on X, formerly Twitter .
“The [is] “It’s not just a casual misstep,” he added. “It is an indication of the moral, political decay that has been simmering in a certain part of our party for far too long.” Anti-Semitism, bigotry and Hitler apologists should find no refuge in the Republican Party. Period.”
Newsweek reached out to Defend Texas Liberty PAC by phone Monday for comment.
Rittenhouse called Strickland the “most conservative boss out there” while commenting that Strickland posted a photo of the two together on X in August.
Phelan, in his statement Monday, continued to call for Republican politicians who received money from Defend Texas Liberty PAC to return their donations because of the connection to Fuentes.
“There is no excuse for keeping tainted funds away from an organization that provides a platform for hate mongers, sexual predators, racists and Nazi sympathizers,” Phelan said.
Phelan specifically condemned Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick for taking “$3 million from this organization” and the Texas Republican Party for receiving “$132,500 during this election cycle.”
Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi was seen entering and exiting Pale Horse Strategies during Stickland’s alleged meeting with Fuentes and Rittenhouse.
However, in comments to the Texas Tribune, Rinaldi insisted he was “just borrowing a conference room.” Rinaldi added: “I completely condemn that [Fuentes] and everything he stands for. I would never meet this guy again in a million years.
Patrick responded to Phelan’s statement with one opinion A short time later, Fuentes himself condemned, accusing the Speaker of the House of Representatives of engaging in a “political stunt” and calling for his resignation.
“I didn’t think even Dade Phelan would stoop so low. He’s hit rock bottom now,” Patrick said. “Nick Fuentes and his anti-Semitic rhetoric have no place in the United States.”
“I call on Dade Phelan to resign his office before the gavels of the House of Representatives this afternoon,” he continued. “There is no place in Texas political discourse for an elected official to exploit the atrocities in Israel for his own political gain.”