NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the premier national gathering for right-leaning activists and Republican politicians, has had its share of problems with white nationalists before. This year, one such group says it and its leader intend to visit the conference—this time to protest neocons who want to bomb Iran.
During a Donald Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on Super Tuesday, a young African-American protester named Shiya Nwanguma was caught on camera getting shoved around and booted from the rally by attendees and Trump supporters. One of the audience members—who yelled at the Black Lives Matter protester that she was “leftist scum”—was later identified as Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the white-nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party fighting for a “future free from economic exploitation, federal tyranny, and anti-Christian degeneracy.”
(“White nationalist” is a term members of these organizations will ask you to call them, particularly if you accuse them of being white supremacists.)
Heimbach subsequently blogged about the incident in which Nwanguma was “roughed up,” and that he was “helping the crowd drive out one of the women who had been pushing, shoving, barking, and screaming at the attendees.”
The young white nationalist gained national media attention in 2013 as the 22-year-old founder of the Towson White Student Union, which aimed to stop the “genocide against the European people.” In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center dubbed him “The Little Führer” who had “plunged into full-fledged neo-Nazism.”
“I’ve always been put off by skinheads and neo-Nazis and the Klan because they don’t advocate a positive message,” Heimbach told The Daily Beast during a ride-along with his Towson “white patrol” in 2013. “They don’t advocate any solutions, really, but they also advocate hatred. I’m allowed to love my people.”
And this year wouldn’t be his first time at CPAC. In March 2013, Heimbach crashed a CPAC event on racial tolerance when he arrived, wearing a Confederate flag, to protest, representing “disenfranchised” white citizens.
For CPAC 2016, Heimbach and his cohorts are planning on crashing the party, again.
“Several of us will be there but not necessarily as a party function,” a Traditionalist Worker spokesperson emailed The Daily Beast. “Matthew will likely attend. More than likely we will be there to protest the [GOP’s] desire to start a war with Iran and Russia. We aren’t sure of the days we'll be there but we certainly will.”
The conservative conference, which started on Wednesday, concludes Saturday evening. (Trump, who himself has found a good deal of white-nationalist fanboys, was scheduled to speak on the conference’s final day, but his campaign announced on Friday that he had pulled out of the gig.) The fledgling white-nationalist party has some time left to head to National Harbor in Maryland to see if its members can manage to disrupt yet another CPAC.
A CPAC spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.