It’s no secret that Washington state has a white nationalist problem. Among the rugged mountains and towering pines are neo-Nazi groups and one of the largest chapters of a violent white supremacist organization. But there’s one group that has been increasingly and alarmingly connected to these extremists: Washington state’s GOP.
The latest example is a pro-Nazi blogger Greyson Arnold’s affiliation with the state party. According to Federal Election Commission records reviewed by The Daily Beast, the Washington State GOP paid Arnold $821.87 on July 15 for “payroll.”
Arnold runs the far-right Telegram account “Pure Politics,” which traffics in Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, praise of controversial lawmakers, and anti-COVID-containment sentiments. It also has more than 12,000 followers who frequently comment with racist and antisemitic language.
But Arnold himself has said plenty of distressing things. As CNN reported last year, Arnold has advocated shooting refugees, killing undocumented immigrants, and has posted praise for Nazi Germany. He actually once said Adolf Hitler was “a complicated historical figure which many people misunderstand.”
In a statement shared last week with The Daily Beast, the communications director for the Washington Republican Party, Ben Gonzalez, didn’t deny Arnold’s employment but claimed his tenure was short-lived.
“When the Washington State Republican Party became aware of this individual staffer’s conduct and views expressed on social media, we terminated the employee,” Gonzalez wrote.
“He no longer works for the party,” Gonzalez added. “The stated viewpoints in question do not reflect the values of the Republican Party.”
Arnold didn’t return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Still, Arnold’s ties to Washington’s Republican Party extend beyond a one-time payment.
As the Associated Press reported in April, Joe Kent—the GOP congressional candidate who beat Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in a Republican primary earlier this year—was photographed alongside Arnold, a move praised by his followers as they work to gain traction with GOP political figures.
Arnold has strong ties to infamous white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, who leads a group of college-aged, far-right activists that refer to themselves as “groypers”—a rebranding of the racist alt-right movement.
Within the far-right “America First” movement, Arnold is a lieutenant in Fuentes’ extremist, “America First” political group. (Greyson actually refers to himself as “American Greyson.”)
Kent’s campaign spokesperson Matt Braynard—who recently spoke at a disastrous Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C.—told The Associated Press that the Kent campaign “does not do background checks on the thousands of people who’ve asked to take selfies with Joe.”
After denying ever knowing who Arnold was, an unearthed interview, discovered by CNN’s KFile, showed the neo-Nazi blogger interviewing Kent.
This isn't the first time the Kent campaign has found itself in hot water over white nationalism.
Back in March 2022, after Fuentes endorsed Kent, the campaign had to denounce the alt-right leaders' glowing praise. Subsequently, a 2021 tweet from Kent surfaced showing the candidate was previously aware of that particular white nationalist leader.
“I stand by this. No one be should [sic] de-platformed or put on a no-fly list for their political ideas,” Kent tweeted in response to an April 2021 tweet that defended Fuentes by name.
Kent added that he didn’t want Fuentes’s endorsement due to his focus on race and religion. “The fights he’s picking are counter productive, this is not my message of inclusive populism,” Kent said.
After Kent denounced Fuentes, the groyper leader and his followers actually campaigned against Kent in the Republican primary. They amplified messages from a group that identified itself as “JoeKentisCIA.” The mysterious group’s website claimed the former Green Beret was “A DEEP STATE PUPPET, A MARXIST DEMOCRAT RINO, AN OPPORTUNIST AND AN IMMORAL CHEATER.”
Likewise, Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander, another Fuentes ally, attacked Kent.
“Former CIA operative Joe Kent lost because his ‘inclusive’ politics was exclusionary; at the expense of the margins, he needed to put him in the top two. Bannon’s War Room lost to Fuentes’ America First. Denounce no one,” Alexander wrote on Telegram, with the message later amplified by Fuentes. “Do not aid your opponents by playing the politics of subtraction.”
Despite those efforts, Kent defeated Herrera Beutler in the GOP primary in August, after she voted to impeach Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riots. Kent now faces Democratic nominee Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez in the general election. The Cook Political Report, which handicaps congressional races, rates the race as “Lean Republican.”