Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) touted white nationalist website VDare's praise of his anti-immigrant amendment

Republicans have a history with the toxic anti-immigrant website

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

When Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) wanted to tout news about an anti-immigrant amendment he proposed in 2015, he went to a toxic source: VDare.

VDare is a white nationalist site that is dedicated to smearing immigrants. It has published such headlines as “One Problem With These Hispanic Immigrants Is Their Disgusting Behavior”; “Come Back, Stonewall Jackson! Hispanic Gangs Invade Shenandoah Valley”; “Indians Aren't That Intelligent (On Average)”; “America Does Not Need ANY Immigrants From Africa”; “Roll Over, JIHAD -- There’s Also HIJRA, Muslim Conquest By Immigration”; “National Data: Haitian Immigrants Pretty Useless -- But Haiti Still Needs Them More Than We Do.”

The site has recently been in the news because of its connection to members of President Donald Trump’s White House. The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported on August 21 that White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow has hosted VDare Editor Peter Brimelow at parties over the years, including at Kudlow’s birthday party last weekend.

Kudlow told the Post that he doesn’t agree with Brimelow’s views on immigration and race and that he was unaware of Brimelow’s history. That explanation doesn’t make sense given that Brimelow runs one of the country’s leading white nationalist websites. Brimelow was also an editor for the National Review and wrote racist commentary back then as well (he was booted from the publication in 1997); Kudlow has been an editor and writer for the National Review, including when Brimelow was still employed by the publication.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski also reported on August 19 that then-White House policy aide and speechwriter Darren Beattie spoke at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference alongside Brimelow. The White House fired Beattie as a result of his appearance.

Republicans have repeatedly promoted VDare over the years.

In a May 15, 2015, tweet, which hasn’t been previously reported, Brat promoted VDare’s praise of his “amendment to strip illegal immigrant ​recruitment language out of” the National Defense Authorization Act.

Brat linked to a May 14 VDare piece by anti-immigrant writer Brenda Walker, who praised Brat for having “spoken against the military amnesty scheme." She also wrote: "It is pretty amazing that the military has been hit with extreme cuts to personnel but now the Republican-run House Armed Services Committee has voted in favor of putting illegal aliens in the front of the line to serve. ... [radio host Laura] Ingraham brought up the security angle because the backgrounds of the illegals cannot be determined. What’s to keep Mexican cartel gangsters from joining up and learning America’s effective military techniques? There have been reports of foreign gangsters in the US military for years, so this is not idle paranoia.”

Shortly after promoting that VDare piece, Brat drew headlines for comparing undocumented immigrants who want to serve in the military to ISIS. Brat stated on a conservative radio program: “I wanted to stand up and shout, I mean, ISIS is willing to serve in our military as well.”

Other Republican promotions of VDare include:

  • The Republican National Convention displayed a tweet from VDare in its convention hall in 2016.  
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA) hosts a page on his congressional website about “illegal immigrant stories” that cites VDare. King also appeared on a Conservative Political Action Conference panel with Brimelow in 2012.
  • Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who briefly ran for the GOP nomination for Colorado governor this election cycle, has been on VDare’s board and was scheduled to speak at its recent conferences but they were canceled by the venues because of VDare’s racism.
  • Seth Grossman, a Republican congressional nominee in New Jersey, promoted a VDare piece on the website of a conservative nonprofit group he founded. (National Republicans have withdrawn their support for Grossman because of his promotion of white nationalist propaganda.)
  • Jon Feere, who joined the Trump administration as a senior adviser with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, promoted VDare in a 2016 tweet.

Brimelow has also contributed to The Daily Caller, most recently writing a September 2017 piece praising Trump on immigration. He attended Trump’s inauguration and gave a small campaign contribution to Trump in 2016.