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Idaho’s Lt. Governor Wants So Badly To Avoid Explaining Her Appearance at a White Nationalist Convention

Janice McGeachin puts out her hand silencing a reporter during a hallway interview.

Idaho’s Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin is the latest Republican to get up in arms after being asked to explain her ties to prominent white nationalists. During a recent interview, McGeachin was asked the simple question of why she chose to speak at an event organized by alt-right spokesman Nick Fuentes last month. Rather than answer that question, she strung together a series of nonsensical clauses and walked away.

A Boise reporter named Brian Holmes asked McGeachin why she appeared as a speaker at Fuentes’ “America First Political Action Conference,” which presents itself as a more openly racist alternative to CPAC.

That exchange is most definitely worth watching in full but here’s a breakdown of the main bit because this level of racist inanity can be hard to watch:

Holmes: Are you familiar with who puts this event on, like Nick Fuentes?

McGeachin: I don’t know who he is. I don’t—I’ve never met him. I don’t know who he is.

Holmes: Did you not look into it before you decided to say, ‘Ok’? Like to find out—his name is on it.

McGeachin: Well, you know what, Nick Fuentes, as I said, I don’t know him. He’s never — I’ve never met him. I don’t know what he’s—what is—everything that he says or doesn’t say does not reflect on who I am or who the thousands of others that are participating in this movement.

It would be nice to hear McGeachin describe exactly what “movement” she thinks is being advocated for at a conference organized by Fuentes if not white nationalism. To be fair, he does have other passions: homophobia, xenophobia, antisemitism, misogyny—just to name a few. Which one of those exactly did McGeachin think was the theme of this conference?

She insists, though, that she didn’t even do a basic Google search of his name. (If she had, she would not have had to click even a single link to see the phrase “white nationalist” pop up about a dozen times on the first page of search results.) And according to her, even asking if she did so is equivalent to an “assassination.”

Holmes: You didn’t bother to look up his name or anything?

McGeachin: I didn’t say that.

Holmes: You did look him up?

McGeachin: That’s not the question that you asked me.

It actually was but let’s move on …

When pressed, McGeachin—a virulent anti-vaxxer who was best known until now for trying to carry out a little coup when Idaho’s governor left for a work trip a few months back—says she’s looked up Fuentes since speaking at the conference, but not before. Which seems weird because if I organized a conference and invited the Lt. Governor to speak, I’m guessing she or someone in her team would look me up and then likely immediately decline, given that our values clearly don’t align.

So do McGeachin’s values align with Fuentes’? It’s hard to tell since when asked the very basic question of “Did you look up who Nick Fuentes was and what he’s talked about? Like, things he has said,” here’s how she responded:

McGeachin: It’s not fair. The mainstream media—you do this to conservatives all the time, but you don’t do it to yourself. That every time—any time there’s any kind of affiliation with anybody at any time on any stage, that we are all guilty by association. And it’s not appropriate.

Holmes pointed out that the association “is not a good one”—specifically to be associated with someone who is antisemitic, at which point McGeachin lost it, waving her hand in his face, saying “Stop, STOP, EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME,” but offering no actual excuses other than that she can’t be expected to know literally anything about anyone she essentially endorses by speaking at a conference they’ve organized. (She repeatedly tried to paint Fuentes as essentially just someone she happened to be in a room with one time, which is most definitely not the case here. He is the prominent organizer of a major event she chose to be a part of.)

McGeachin is not the only Republican to try to claim ignorance of Fuentes and what he stands for even though, again, if you Google just his name, this is literally the first thing that pops up:

A screencap of a Wikipedia entry reading: "Nicholas Joseph Fuentes is an American far-right and white nationalist political commentator and live streamer. The Anti-Defamation League has described Fuentes as a white supremacist. A former YouTuber, his channel was permanently suspended in February 2020 for violating YouTube's hate speech policy."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who thrives off of controversy and attention, was also a speaker at the same convention. She’s also claimed she didn’t know anything about Fuentes beforehand and similar to McGeachin, blamed “identity politics” for trying to “cancel” her over the tacit endorsement.

Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Gosar, who has made no effort to hide his own innate horribleness, went through all of this when he appeared at Fuentes’ event last year, so I don’t think anyone is trying to get an explanation or apology for the video address he sent in this year. Unlike McGeachin and Greene, he is simply owning the fact that he wanted to be a featured guest at a white nationalist convention.

And just in case you think the “white nationalist” moniker might be too casually applied here, Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin breaks down Fuentes’ whole deal:

How big of a bigot is Fuentes? If you didn’t catch the ADL’s description of him just now and need more specifics, he reportedly has: asserted that “whites are under attack”; said that there is going to be a “genocide” on young white men; criticized interracial marriage; suggested that Black people were too sensitive about the unfairness of racist Jim Crow era laws (“Oh no, they had to go to different schools. Their water fountain in that famous picture was worse. Who cares? Grow up, drink out of the fucking water fountain. It’s water, it’s the same. Even it was bad, who cares. We all agree, it’s better for them, it’s better for us. It’s better in general,” he said); denied the Holocaust and likened Jews burning in gas chambers to baking cookies. Naturally, he attended the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and later helped organize many of the “Stop the Steal” protests leading up to January 6. On January 4, he reportedly uploaded a video in which he said: “What can you and I do to state legislators besides kill them? Although, we should not do that. I’m not advising that, but I mean, what else are you going to do?”

But sure, we’re going to believe that these elected officials and grown adults didn’t do a simple Google search before attending his convention.

(via: CNN, image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.