TPUSA Cans Nevada Campus Leader After Racist Video Surfaces

TPUSA founder and president Charlie Kirk speaks at CPAC 2019. (Photo: Jared Holt for Right Wing Watch)

Turning Point USA has removed University of Nevada Las Vegas chapter leader Riley Grisar after a video went viral yesterday in which Grisar looked into a camera and said the words “white power” before a young woman beside him yelled racial slurs.

It’s Going Down reported that Grisar made an “OK” hand gesture, a seemingly innocuous hand symbol that members of white supremacist circles have used to signal to each other, and said “white power” in the video. The young woman beside him looked into the camera and said, “White power. Fuck the (plural form of N-word).” It is unclear when the video was recorded.

TPUSA’s national Twitter account released a statement late last night announcing that Grisar had been “swiftly and permanently removed” from the organization. The statement said that Grisar’s remarks were “un-American and disqualifying.”

The incident involving Grisar is just another chapter in TPUSA’s longstanding problem; the organization keeps finding racists in its ranks. Staffers have been fired for racist text messages, white nationalist groups like Identity Evropa had targeted the organization as a recruiting ground, and former TPUSA Communications Director Candace Owens made remarks that Adolf Hitler would have been “OK” if he had “just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well;” it was his ambitions “outside of Germany” that made him a problem. Then there was TPUSA chief creative officer Benny Johnson telling the audience at one of the organization’s events that it was “incredible” to be in a room with “so many white people.”

The national Twitter account for TPUSA shared an image that gave a nod to the racist “white genocide” conspiracy theory last month. When organization leaders turned away an activist with anti-Semitic views, one TPUSA leader said it was  for the sake of “optics.” For its Student Action Summit, TPUSA partnered with Gab, a social media site that harbors extremist content, but quietly dropped Gab after the partnership was criticized on social media.

Turning Point USA founder and president Charlie Kirk has a close tie to the president’s adult son Donald Trump Jr., and TPUSA leaders have been invited to the White House on numerous occasions. The White House has taken policy cues from the organization and the group has received special shout-outs from Trump during his speeches. At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, TPUSA was front and center, with Trump lauding Kirk and Owens by name in his nearly two-hour long CPAC speech.

(This article was updated at 11:30 a.m.)