The neo-Nazis who organized the pro-Donald Trump rally in Sacramento, California, that turned bloody over the weekend have a new destination: The Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“We’re essentially just going to show up and make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs,” Matt Parrott, spokesman for the white-nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, told McClatchy, claiming that roughly 30 members of the party would head to Ohio in July.
The Traditionalist Worker Party is yet another white-nationalist group of “race realists” that has wormed its way into relevance through the ascendancy of Trumpism. The party—which fights for a lily-white America “free from economic exploitation, federal tyranny, and anti-Christian degeneracy”—is led by its chairman Matthew Heimbach, who gained national media attention in 2013 as the 22-year-old founder of the Towson White Student Union. In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center dubbed him the “Little Führer” who had “plunged into full-fledged neo-Nazism.”
In March 2013, Heimbach crashed a Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) event on racial tolerance where he arrived, wearing a Confederate flag, representing all the “disenfranchised” white citizens. Earlier this year, he again went viral for getting caught on video shoving a Black Lives Matter protester at a Trump rally, and yelling at her for being “leftist scum.”
On Sunday, his group, in conjunction with the Golden State Skinheads, held a pro-white/pro-Trump rally in Sacramento where at least five people were stabbed and several others wounded. Heimbach himself was not at the chaotic, violent event; he and his followers blamed the “anti-fascist” counter-protesters for the mayhem. The stabbing victims were on both sides of the fight, police told reporters.
“They attacked each other without hesitation,” 50-year-old counter-protester Chandra Zafra told the Los Angeles Times. “It was a war zone.”
And the “Traditionalists” declared their victory.
“We will not be intimidated,” Parrott wrote online in a fundraising pitch, following the incident. “We will not stand down. Our event was a victory by all metrics. We won the physical fight. We provoked the leftists into showing their true colors.”
For its part, the Sacramento County GOP firmly denounced the white-nationalist Trump fans, with spokesman Carl Burton telling The Daily Beast that the organization was “completely disowned by all of us,” and that the Traditionalist Worker Party is “nothing but a hate group.”
Members of the Traditionalist Worker Party did not respond to The Daily Beast’s multiple requests for comment regarding their convention plans. But the anti-Trump groups (or “leftist thugs,” as some would say) planning on protesting the Republican convention are preparing accordingly.
“We’re peaceful protesters and advocating for a peaceful world, so hopefully everyone who can attend—whether they’re a violent neo-Nazi or otherwise—will respect our First Amendment rights,” Alli McCracken, national coordinator for the anti-war Code Pink, told The Daily Beast, commenting on what she called the “scary news” of the upcoming white-nationalist presence.
“Their presence is indicative of the broader problem of Trump’s… xenophobia,” she continued. “I’m not surprised they’ll be there defending their candidate.”
Mick Kelly, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC, says that the coalition remains unfazed by Heimbach’s crew.
“We are marching on the Republican National Convention to send a message against Islamophobia, race discrimination, and anti-immigrant sentiments,” he said. “We are not concerned about a small group of neo-Nazis. We are very capable of taking care of ourselves.”
Frank Chapman, a field organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, essentially rolled his eyes at the bluster of the self-identified Trad-Workers.
“We’re going there to protest the racist platform Trump is trying to impose on this nation,” Chapman said. “We’re not worried about violent neo-Nazis, we have not been preoccupied with fighting Nazis. They don’t have any political power. They are not our problem. Trump is our problem… [The Nazis] should be a concern for the police forces in Cleveland.”
Long before Heimbach’s group announced its intention to crash the GOP convention, the city was starting to stock up on riot gear in anticipation of a potentially disorderly and violent Republican convention.
Cleveland police did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. But when asked about the possibility of a pro-Trump, neo-Nazi contingent committed to “defending” fellow Trump supporters, a GOP convention official would only say that their “law enforcement partners are aware of those who will be in Cleveland during the event and continue to prepare for the thousands of delegates, attendees, and residents of the city who will be here during the Convention.”
This year, those attendees might very well include this small army of street-fighting white supremacists.
“[White families] are under siege from… third world rapists and murderers being foisted into their communities and public schools,” Heimbach wrote earlier this month. “The elites destroy working and middle class neighborhoods, while they themselves live in exclusive gated communities, while their children attend public schools.”