Kansas State ‘America First Students’ Leader Condemned for Racist Comments

(Illustration: Jared Holt)

Staff, students​, and athletes at Kansas State University are speaking out again against​ Kansas State student Jaden McNeil, a leader within the white nationalist youth movement, after McNeil ​authored several racist posts online about George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

“Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!” McNeil tweeted Thursday, one month after Floyd was killed under the knee of ​a police officer who ignored Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe​ and bystanders​’ cries ​for the officer to release his knee from Floyd’s neck.

(Screenshot / Twitter)

In response to online backlash for his tweet, McNeil wrote to his followers on Telegram: “So many homosexuals in my mentions because of my George Floyd tweet.”

McNeil is the leader of a student organization called America First Students. The group, which met for the first time at Kansas State in January, is an effort by the America First “groyper” youth movement to rebrand white nationalism and target new recruits on college campuses. McNeil ​also founded his university’s right-wing Turning Point USA chapter, but he resigned in the fall, tweeting, “TPUSA constantly cedes cultural ground to the Left.”

After McNeil’s racist posts about George Floyd, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Kansas State ​Thomas Lane posted Friday on Twitter: “I’m aware of the Twitter posting by a K-State student. The lack of basic decency and care for how this post would impact others, especially our Black students, faculty, & staff already emotionally hurting from recent incidents of anti-Black violence is shameful and appalling.”

“K-State condemns the post in the strongest of terms. It does not reflect who we are as confirmed by the outrage expressed by so many campus community members. Bigotry, prejudice & racism have no place here,” Lane wrote.

Gene Taylor, ​director of athletics at Kansas State, also condemned McNeil’s post. He wrote on Twitter: “Recent tweets from a K-State student downplaying the Black Lives Matter effort and the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd are disgusting and totally inappropriate and not reflective of who we are as a University or our Athletic Department.” He added, “They are not reflective of our administration and goals. We are committed to listening and supporting our black athletes, black students and members of our black community and taking positive steps in the matters of social injustice and racism.”

Kansas State President Richard Myers released a statement on Twitter via Kansas State’s official account that read, “The insensitive comments posted by one K-State student hurts our entire community. These divisive statements do not represent for the values of our university. We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms. We are launching an immediate review of the university’s options. Black Lives Matter at Kansas State University and we will continue to fight for social justice.”

Several Kansas State athletes and students have also expressed their opposition to McNeil’s ​racist comments; some members of the university football team have said they don’t wish to play sports for the school until the matter is resolved​, calling for McNeil’s expulsion. As a result, far-right figures aligned with McNeil online have launched a targeted harassment campaign against McNeil’s critics.

“Jaden is being targeted by the Left for this tweet— would be very helpful if we had every Groyper go into the retweets on the tweet, go to ‘retweet with comment,’ and ratio everyone who is attacking him,” ​Nick Fuentes​, anti-Semite and a leader of the America First “groyper” movement, wrote to his followers on Telegram. “Go in here and give them hell. Fuck these people and fuck George Floyd.”

“Ratio” in this instance refers to flooding a targeted Twitter user’s profile with hateful replies. Fuentes has been joined in this effort by Gateway Pundit writer Cassandra Fairbanks, white supremacist Scott Greer, alt-right media project Columbia Bugle, and his far-right online fanbase.

​Like his​ allies in the “groyper” white nationalist movement, McNeil has used his influence to peddle smears and attacks against Black people brutalized by police and the protesters across the nation who have spoken out. “If you have eyes then you know who pose the greatest risk of violence,” McNeil tweeted.

​This isn’t the first time McNeil’s racism has been reported or condemned. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights reported in February that McNeil has worked with numerous figures involved in the violent Unite the Right white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and has attended events hosted by white nationalist figures. Angry White Men reported in February that McNeil also holds racist views at a personal level, citing his posts in Telegram:

His Telegram channel is similarly toxic. On November 7, 2019, he wrote, “It’s November 2019 and this retard teacher is still talking about ‘muh kids in cages.’” In a separate post he wrote, “She’s now telling us that the only way to save Europe is mass migration because of birth rates. … Why take a strong nationalistic, pro-family, approach when you can just import third world migrants.”

On one occasion he shared an image of a tweet warning of “civilizational enemies” who “brainwash your children” and “replace you with mexicans [sic].” On another he re-posted an image that contrasted a black and white image of white people riding a train with a color photo of non-white people riding a train. It was captioned with “Press F for Western Civilization.”

McNeil has said he interned for BlazeTV host Elijah Schaffer’s show “Slightly Offensive” and claims to have been responsible for getting Fuentes​ booked on the program, IREHR reports.

Kansas State’s student government condemned bigotry after IREHR’s February report​ detailed McNeil and his campus group America First Students’ connections to the white nationalist movement​, but the student group has continues to operate.

(This post was updated at 12:40 p.m. to include a tweeted statement from Kansas State’s director of athletics.)

(This post was updated at 12:55 p.m. to include a tweeted statement from Kansas State President Richard Myers.)