New York Republicans Defend Decision to Invite 'Proud Boys' Leader to Speak — Despite Violent Aftermath

"We’re the victims here,” said the club’s president.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Metropolitan Republican Club of Manhattan brought in a hate group leader to give a speech and is now insisting that that was a great decision and the club is in no way responsible for the hate group’s members attacking and beating anti-racist protesters while leaving the event. Gavin McInnes, the leader of the “Proud Boys,” was invited to the Republican venue to “reenact the samurai sword assassination of Japanese socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma,” because of course.

The Proud Boys are “western chauvinists” (read: white supremacists) whose initiation ceremony includes being punched by current members and who showed up at the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville in 2017. As a group of their members (and a few skinheads) left the McInnes speech, they were apparently hassled by protesters and responded with a vicious attack carried out while screaming homophobic and other slurs. Three anti-racist protesters were arrested while the violent white supremacists were let go, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio say that police hate crimes investigators are looking into the attack.

Through it all, the Metropolitan Republican Club wishes for—nay, demands, for we are talking about entitled white people—your pity. “We’re the victims here,” said the club’s president. And:

“We do invite speakers to the Club with differing political points of view — some we agree with and some which we do not. But we are staunch supporters of the 1st Amendment,” club officials said in a statement on Sunday night. “We want to foster civil discussion, but never endorse violence. Gavin’s talk on Friday night, while at times was politically incorrect and a bit edgy, was certainly not inciting violence.”

He is the leader of a violent hate group. His First Amendment rights did not demand that you invite him to speak at your club, and once you do so, you assume some responsibility for the outcome.

Even your Upper East Side establishment Republicans are cuddling up to racist hate groups these days, as a measure of how far gone the Republican Party is.

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Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.