A woman relaxes with a blanket on her lap, looking at Pinterest on an iPad.

Gotta Say, Pinterest Is a Pretty Weird Place To Keep Your Far-Right Extremist ‘Treason Watchlist’

Since Donald Trump left office, far-right extremists with open ties to white supremacist organizations have tried to fill his place by entering into politics themselves. In Arizona, the Republican nominee for secretary of state is Mark Finchem, a self-proclaimed member of the far-right, anti-government, conspiracy-theory-driven extremist group the Oath Keepers. CNN uncovered a trove of Finchem’s “previously unreported” social media posts, which include a disturbing Pinterest board labeled “Treason Watchlist.”

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Yes, nestled in between a board titled “It’s a Dog’s Life” that’s all pictures of dogs and dog-related memes, and “Fashion,” which is literally just three pictures of the same Western-style bow tie, sits Finchem’s “watchlist.”

The board is still up but some of the pins appear to have been deleted. CNN describes the board as having “pins of photos of Barack Obama alongside imagery of a man clad in Nazi attire making a Nazi salute; Finchem also shared photos of the Holocaust claiming it could happen in the United States.”

CNN describes more pins and entire boards that seem to have been deleted, wither by Finchem or by Pinterest:

Other posts Finchem pinned on his “Thought Provoking” board included conspiracy theories that the Mexican Army was making incursions into the United States in preparation for a full-scale invasion and repeated anti-Muslim posts arguing Sharia law was coming to the US soon.

One pin shared an image warning of “the communists inside our government,” and another included a fake quotation alleging George Washington saying US citizens should be armed against the government.

Pinterest feels like one of the weirdest possible places to keep your white supremacy mood board. That is a site for cookie recipes and interior design ideas you have no intention of following through with, not for violent extremism. And Pinterest clearly agrees, since it was way quicker to ban Donald Trump (or rather, Trump-related content, since he didn’t actually have an account) than other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Looking at Finchem’s campaign website, he doesn’t seem to have any sort of platform other than touting Trump’s endorsement and ranting about “election integrity.” There is no “issues” page, just talk about the 2020 election “scam” and a petition to “decertify and set aside Arizona’s electors,” which, if possible, would retroactively invalidate the 2020 election.

Of all the extremist groups out there, the Oath Keepers are especially popular with former and active law enforcement and military. (Finchem’s website says he worked in law enforcement.) A core tenet of the group is the idea that they’re being pushed to violence by government overreach. It makes sense, then, that so many members would see the (extremely legitimate) 2020 election as the most important issue out there. It’s also terrifying that this man is on track to be the person responsible for actually maintaining election integrity for an entire state.

(via CNN, image: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Pinterest)


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Author
Vivian Kane
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.