When Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene found herself at the center of a growing controversy after she warmly greeted white nationalist Nick Fuentes and spoke at his America First Political Action Conference last Friday, she released a statement insisting that she appeared at the white nationalist conference in order to reach out to “young conservatives who feel cast aside and marginalized by society” and to “speak to a lost generation of young people who are desperate for love and leadership.”
The hundreds of far-right activists who had gathered at AFPAC were simply “misguided,” Greene insisted, and she was there to encourage them “to seek wisdom and apologize to those who have been hurt by their words.”
To anyone who knows anything about Fuentes or any of AFPAC’s other speakers or participants, Greene’s assertion that she was trying to turn these “lost” and “misguided” souls in a better direction is laughable. The extremist political and cultural agenda promoted by Fuentes and the other far-right activists within the America First movement is founded on unapologetic racism, misogyny, and antisemitism. Proudly holding and openly espousing such views is a central component of the movement’s identity, and by speaking to AFPAC, Greene helped to legitimize it.
That is exactly what radical right-wing activist Vincent James said during a livestream Monday night. James, who the ADL describes as “a white supremacist,” also spoke at AFPAC, where he succinctly laid out the America First agenda for all to see—which includes abolishing abortion, criminalizing homosexuality, “bringing an end to the anti-white indoctrination in public school,” and dominating the movement’s enemies “without mercy.” On Monday, he bragged that having Taylor Greene speak at the event was all “about mainstreaming our message” and helping to shift “the Overton Window.“
“The America First movement is inevitable,” James said. “We are breaking through this Overton Window, and speakers like Marjorie Taylor Greene, speakers like [Arizona state Rep.] Wendy Rogers, speakers like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, [Rep.] Paul Gosar, [Idaho Lt. Gov.] Janice McGeachin, [former Rep.] Steve King, Michelle Malkin, Jon Miller, it doesn’t matter what they say. You have to really think about the end game here. You have to take a look at this from a 30,000-foot view. It doesn’t matter what they say, it doesn’t matter that their message might be diametrically or completely the opposite of the message of some of the other speakers there. It’s about gaining legitimacy.”
“It’s about helping to push through this Overton Window,” He continued. “It’s not about the speakers. It’s not about their speech. It’s not about what they believe or what they have done in government. It’s not about any of that. You have to realize it’s about gaining legitimacy. It’s about breaking through the Overton Window.”
“It’s about mainstreaming our message,” James declared.
And that is exactly what Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene did by speaking at AFPAC.