Many GOP officials plan on giving Cleveland and the Republican National Convention a wide berth in July, but one group has confirmed they will be in attendance en masse: neo-Nazis.
Matt Parrott, a spokesman for the white-nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party, told McClatchy on Monday that the group plans on sending about 30 members to the GOP convention to support presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
“We’re essentially just going to show up and make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs,” he said.
Sunday’s Traditionalist Workers Party pro-Trump rally ended in violence and bloodshed in Sacramento, California, as neo-Nazis and “anti-fascist” protesters clashed in front of the state Capitol building. At least 10 people were wounded, with several protesters from both sides suffering from stab wounds, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At the helm of the Traditionalist Workers Party is Matthew Heimbach, whom the anti-racist Southern Poverty Law Center named “Little Führer” in 2014. Heimbach has repeatedly tweeted his support of Hezbollah, which the U.S. defines as a terror group, as well as anti-Semitic rhetoric.
“A country has the Jews it deserves.” -Corneliu Codreanu #Parasitespic.twitter.com/7u0nU9dpNN— Matthew Heimbach (@MatthewHeimbach) June 6, 2016
We today honor the heroes of Hezbollah who freed their land from the Zionist invaders 16 years ago #NationalistUnitypic.twitter.com/C8JYKbYbhL— Matthew Heimbach (@MatthewHeimbach) May 27, 2016
The Sacramento County GOP disavoewd support for Trump by white nationalists. Spokesman Carl Burton told The Daily Beast that the Traditionalist Workers Party was “completely disowned by all of us,” and that it is “nothing but a hate group.”
A black protester at Trump’s rally today in Alabama was shoved, tackled, punched & kicked: https://t.co/Aq0wuaAtaxpic.twitter.com/cTRDMtjuBl— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
Violence has been common at Trump rallies in the past. Trump cancelled a March rally in Chicago after concerns over mounting violence between his supporters and protesters, and Trump was criticized for suggesting a black protester beaten at a March rally in Birmingham, Alabama might have deserved it.
“Maybe he should have been roughed up,” the Republican candidate for president said on Fox and Friends. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”
Several prominent GOP leaders announced in past weeks that they would not be attending the Cleveland convention, including former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain, and ex-presidents George H.W Bush and George W. Bush, along with several of the candidates Trump defeated in the Republican primary contest.