Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, was caught on video last week slamming “Ron Paul fanatics” in the anti-immigration movement along with tea-bagger wannabe William Gheen who organized poorly attended “copycat” anti-immigration tea party protests:
I used to support Ron Paul, until I had this falling out with these Ron Paul fanatics. They’re not all that way, just too many. The ones that I’ve met, who are very hateful people, have no business supporting Ron Paul. Jeff Schwilk and William Gheen have no business being in political activism because, in my blatant personal opinion, they are outright racists.
Gilchrist has long attempted to distinguish his “multi-ethnic” border vigilante group from more overtly racist organizations such as Gheen’s Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC). However, their public feud is more the product of personal infighting than ideological differences.
To begin with, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists both the Minuteman Project and ALIPAC as “nativist extremist” organizations. SPLC has extensively documented the Minuteman Project’s ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a “white supremacist hate group” which even co-hosted a “strategy session” with one of the Minuteman Project’s chapters.
The Anti-Defamation League points out that the Minuteman Project is “highly publicized among right-wing extremists ranging from militia groups to white supremacist organizations,” including neo-Nazi National Alliance members. Harvard University recently canceled Gilchrist’s invitation to speak at the campus, explaining that his views were “not compatible with providing an environment for civil, educational, and productive discourse on immigration.”
Earlier in the interview, Gilchrist offers a more convincing explanation for the mutual contempt held amongst nativist groups: “personality disorders” or “just hate for the competition.” Gilchrist claims Gheen’s hatred for him started when he refused to hand over his email lists and that his group was later attacked by Gheen for endorsing Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) for President over Ron Paul. Both candidates pandered to the right-wing anti-immigrant fringe during their 2008 presidential campaigns.
Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress