In a hard-hitting speech, the head of a major conservative organization argued that the so-called “alt-right” is actually just a cover for a “hate-filled left-wing fascist group” seeking to undermine conservatism.
Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, D.C., American Conservative Union Executive Director Dan Schneider sought to cast the loosely organized movement with ties to white nationalists that played a role in last year’s elections out of the conservative coalition.
“There is a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks and we must not be duped,” he told thousands of grassroots conservatives. “Just a few years ago, this hate-filled left-wing fascist group hijacked the very term ‘alt-right.’ That term has been used for a long time in a very good and normal way.”
The speech was the latest salvo in an ongoing war among conservatives about what to do about the alt-right, which was galvanized by President Trump’s populist campaign for the White House. Some members of the American Conservative Union’s board, including President Matt Schlapp, rallied around Trump despite concerns about his breaks from conservative ideology.
CPAC also controversially invited—and then disinvited—right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to give a speech at the annual event.
Citing a meeting of white nationalists in Washington in November in which attendees made Nazi salutes and yelled “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory,” Schneider said that they “spew hatred.”
“They are anti-Semites. They are racist. They are sexist,” he said. “They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism. They hate everything and despite everything we believe in.”
Schneider said that conservatives value individual rights, while the alt-right are “fascists” who “want big government control to impose their will on you.” He argued that “fascism is actually more akin to socialism” and said the alt-right is “not like anybody here.”
“This specific group that has hijacked a once-decent term, they are not us,” he said. “The alt-right ain’t right at all.”