At 11am, Stewart was out. By 4pm, Stewart was convinced otherwise.
What followed instead of an announcement that Stewart was going to suspend his campaign was what one viewer described as a “hostage video” — where Stewart managed to denounce just about everyone.
…except the Citronella Nazis. That’s right. In a 40 minute video that appeared disjointed, vapid, and contained absolutely nothing at all (because, well… it was gutted of its primary reason for even being announced) Stewart denounced a lot of things.
Except. The. Nationalists.
Take a quick look on the guy at the far left.
That’s Jason Kessler — head of Unity and Security for America — recently sentenced for misdemeanor assault and arrested again just one week later for disorderly conduct at Lee Park during the counter-demonstrations.
Stewart and Kessler have a deep, intimate relationship going back many months over the Lee Statue, where Stewart showed up to support Kessler’s efforts to drive our Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy in a doxxing campaign that revealed Bellamy’s comments on Twitter some 10 years earlier.
Unfortunately, the doxxing campaign worked.
What the record really doesn’t tell you (yet) is that Kessler works with individuals such as Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party and a (former? current?) political director for the League of the South — a southern secessionist group.
Now it is safe to say that Kessler doesn’t belong in the “in” crowd among the alt-right identitarian movement (nationalists for shorthand, if you prefer). If you will notice at the Citronella Nazi rally on Saturday, Kessler was not invited to stand behind the Identity Evropa banner — instead, he was exiled to the bleachers and sort of hovered around the “cool kids club” (one catches a mere glimpse of him at the 36 minute mark on the Periscope video of Saturday’s speech).
Yet Kessler has most certainly proven to be quite useful to Corey Stewart’s narrative while running for governor. In fact, almost singularly supportive regarding the Lee Statue.
Now before we get into too much guilt by association, one should know that the Virginia Flaggers have seen guys like Kessler and Heimbach support their movement to preserve Confederate statues and the heritage of the Confederate flag. There are plenty of pictures showing Heimbach (for instance) of standing behind banners of those supporting the Virginia Flaggers:
As you can imagine, the Virginia Flaggers are not monolithic when they put out the call to have their heritage supported. All sorts of folks show up: historians, reenactors, locals, and yes — out of state nationalists looking to hijack the event and radicalize the folks in the crowd.
That’s how your run-of-the-mill terrorist network spreads. Heck, that’s how religions or ideologies spread. That’s how political campaigns sputtering on fumes and unable to break out of third place (according to the Washington Post) try to catch on.
They piggyback. Even on to guys like Richard Spencer (whose identitarian ideology I will be writing about in depth later today — different than Heimbach and Kessler’s rhetoric).
But Corey Stewart — in his abortive suspension announcement — couldn’t bring himself to condemn his friends.
…but he sure as hell had a lot of condemnation for others.