Among the gild of creeps who promoted stomach-churning images of white nationalists gathering by the light of tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va. last Friday was one Paul Nehlen, the man running a longshot bid to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan in the Republican primary for his congressional seat.
Nehlen retweeted an image of the rally's organizers posted after the event that was captioned, "Huge success in Charlottesville. Tomorrow will be even better. #UniteTheRight." He also retweeted a picture of the demonstration posted by alt-right organizer Jason Kessler captioned, "Incredible moment for white people who've had it up to here & aren't going to take it anymore. Tomorrow we #UnitetheRight #Charlottesville."
Even for Nehlen, a fringe candidate running a nasty campaign against the speaker on the longest of long shots, this is pretty bad.
As if those tweets weren't disgusting enough, Nehlen also said he believed in the "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory that spread among the alt-right in an Aug. 3 "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit. The theory posited that prominent Democratic leaders were running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. It was debunked thoroughly last year after a man stormed the restaurant with a rifle and fired shots.
When asked by the Associated Press to comment on his newly-stated belief in the theory, Nehlen replied, "I believe in the broader possibility that there are those in positions of power to which laws do not equally apply to them, and therefore, I pray (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions unleashes the full power of his assets to root out and prosecute EQUALLY those who prey on children, including human trafficking narco-terrorists, and those in positions of power."
The business executive had tweeted previously about Pizzagate, posting thrice about the theory last November. "The less obvious upshot to Reddit CEO editing posts: will likely draw more attention to whatever nefariousness he was protecting #pizzagate," he wrote on Nov. 24.
In the wake of the deaths in Charlottesville on Saturday, Nehlen tweeted, "Like Pres. Trump, I condemn hatred and bigotry on all sides. Violent, illegal antifa attacks on lawful assemblies are especially repugnant."
Nehlen announced his candidacy in June, less than a year after Ryan clobbered him by 68 points in their 2016 primary battle. The simple question of why he tweeted implicit endorsements of the scheduled demonstrations on both Friday and Saturday would be a good one to ask at his town hall in Janesville on Wednesday night.
What is Nehlen's standard of "hatred and bigotry" if it wasn't met by the torch-bearing losers in Charlottesville last weekend?
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.