Representative Paul Gosar has found a new home on social media where he can continue to push the boundaries of acceptable political discussion.
Created in 2016, Gab is a social networking site that attracts the ultra-right. It serves as an alternate location for people to share unvarnished views, including hate speech, that would likely be taken down for violating terms of service on more mainstream platforms. Gab can serve as a new online forum for those who have been blocked from participating in the most commonly used online sites.
The fringe social media network rose to prominence in 2018, after it became the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter’s day site in Pittsburgh.
In a January 24 post on Gab, Gosar defended extremist Nick Fuentes, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a white nationalist:
“The partisan witch hunt of the fake January 6 committee continues as they have now set their sights on young conservative Christians like Nick Fuentes. This is pure political persecution and it must stop. @realnickjfuentes”
Fuentes, who the Anti-Defamation League also calls a white supremacist leader and organizer, replied on Gab: “Thank you, congressman!”
Gosar did not respond to the Arizona Republic’s request for comment.
Gosar is no stranger to controversy on social media. He was censured by the U.S. House of Representatives in November and stripped of all committee assignments after posting an anime-style video in which he kills Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y.
Gosar deleted the tweet after much criticism and before the vote of no confidence. Moments after the censorship, he retweeted a post that included the violent animation.
Gosar was invited to join Gab last august and joined the site in November, after encouragement from Gab CEO Andrew Torba and months of #getgosarongab social media campaign.
As of Monday, Gosar’s personal Twitter account had nearly 148,000 followers after five years and more than 5,700 tweets. His personal Gab account had over 114,000 followers since November and 147 posts.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Gab an “organizing hub for white supremacists.” The ADL says Gab is “white supremacist, hateful, and anti-Semitic” and is the “extremists’ “go-to online destination.”
Gosar, who represents Arizona’s 4th congressional district, tends to tweet more frequently from his work and personal Twitter account than Gab. While Gosar frequently posts similar articles on Twitter and Gab, the featured posts are exclusive to the latter. This includes Gosar’s shoutout to Fuentes, who was kicked off Twitter last July.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Fuentes’ accounts have been removed from popular social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, TikTok and Instagram. It has also been banned, according to the newspaper, from mobile cash payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Stripe.
Fuentes gained national attention after attending the 2017 White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville, the same year he launched his “America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes” live show. He also addressed the same crowd as former President Donald Trump in Washington on January 6, 2021, before the Capitol Riot.
Gosar skipped a February 2021 House vote on COVID-19 relief to attend an America First political action committee conference hosted by Fuentes in Florida. The two were supposed to hold a fundraiser last year, although Gosar denied attending despite being listed in the invite along with Fuentes.
Tara Kavaler is a political reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @kavalertara.
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