The Groypers, a loose coalition of neo-Nazi internet trolls, once again casted themselves as the party hooligans of Turning Point USA’s seminal conference. Over the weekend, Republicans and their increasingly radicalized base flocked to West Palm Beach in Florida for the annual conference hosted by Charlie Kirk and his influential media empire: Turning Point USA. Former President Donald Trump, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, Congressman Matt Gaetz, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Twitter vlogger Tucker Carlson (formerly of Fox News)— plenty of the big players from the Make America Great Again movement were present. On the evening before Trump was scheduled to give his big speech: a crew of MAGA-faithful neo-Nazis called the Nationalist Network arrived on the scene.
The Nationalist Network is, simply put, a neo-Nazi streamer collective cosplaying as a militant movement. It’s somewhat of a splinter from Nick Fuentes and his Groypers, led by Ryan Sanchez, a disgraced former marine and member of the federally prosecuted neo-Nazi gang Rise Above Movement. He sees Fuentes as a friend in the movement but also a rival. Since the arrest of his previous gang’s leader Robert Rundo, Sanchez has been trying to leverage his street cred as an established neo-Nazi militant to recruit Groyper internet trolls for his white supremacist political projects. It hasn’t been working well for him. He has previously lamented how numerous white supremacists no longer feel comfortable with “IRL activism” after the waves of arrests following the 2017 Unite the Right neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville and the January 6th insurrection in 2021. However, he managed to get a handful of neo-Nazi trolls to log off from their screens and roll with him in person at TPUSA’s conference.
They spent Friday evening aimlessly roaming the convention floor, struggling to network with other right-wing organizations and activists. But as the sun set on West Palm Beach, the Nationalist Network crew still had plenty of steam. They hit the ground running and went to nearby hotels with a simple plan: promote the flyer for a Groyper neo-Nazi party to as many young conservatives as they could. They live-streamed their activities up until the party began.
The Nationalist Network neo-Nazis could hardly contain their excitement… or their antisemitism, as they walked towards one of the hotels. “Anne Frankly, Anne Frankly, Anne Frankly, Anne Frankly… this Marriott… oh, they don’t know what’s coming,” remarked one of the Nationalist Network associates while smoking a cigarette. The men, dressed in what can only be described as college student Miami vice chic, arrived at one of the hotels filled with TPUSA guests. He continued, “they’re not ready for White Boy Summer! Aryan Autumn!” What proceeded next was a cringe-fest of flirting and debased social interactions from transparently terminally online trolls trying to be cool. The flyer for their party they kept trying to distribute was simply an old party photo of Kanye West with a snapchat QR code and the words “invite only, no libtards” printed in the bottom right corner. The interactions were grueling to watch.
After finally having a seemingly successful interaction and invitation with some conservative women, Sanchez told his viewers that he was proud of his Nationalist Network recruits. High on Sanchez’s praise, one of his associates quickly rushes to another group of girls in the lobby and invites them too. Ryan Sanchez interjects and asks how old one of the girls is. “I’m seventeen...” she replied. “Take the stream off,” the associate says to the camera laughing. Sanchez tells him, “you’re fired” and tries to save face by taking the flyer back. A few minutes later, Sanchez asked the Nationalist Network live-stream audience where they should go next. “Say Hilton if you want us to go to the Hilton or stay if you want us to stay,” he remarked to his cameraman. The associate who had just accidentally invited a 17-year-old girl replied, “should I tell them the truth about what’s going on at the Hilton?” Sanchez simply said “uh,” before his associate continued, “the Hilton is where the high schoolers are staying!” Sanchez then rapidly changed the subject. The Marriott staff eventually asked Sanchez and his crew to leave, so they went to the Hilton while indulging in a fantasy that “antifa” was coming to fight them (nobody came to fight them).
You know your party promotion is going well if you start wishing you were brawling with your political enemies instead.
But anyways, what exactly happened with this party? The Nationalist Network crew shut down the live-stream right before getting to the party— but Twitter user @UncrossEm uncovered what really went down.
The neo-Nazi party was hosted at a rented Airbnb house. Videos from the party show young men having drinks, and sometimes holding up a single finger and chanting (a Groyper tradition). One of the party guests is on camera throwing up a Nazi salute. Most of the videos appear to come from convicted sex offender Ethan Ralph. The young neo-Nazis even had multiple chants to honor Ralph; “Ethan Ralph won! Ethan Ralph won! Ethan Ralph won!” There are allegations that many of the partygoers were underaged. In videos and tweets from the party, Ralph repeatedly tells his own viewers that he did not consume any alcohol at this party.
Eventually, Nick Fuentes gave his big neo-Nazi speech as his young cultist followers pledged that they were willing to rape, kill, and die for Nick Fuentes.
When I asked for comment about his Nationalist Network crew inviting a minor on camera to this neo-Nazi party attended by a convicted sex offender, Ryan Sanchez responded with no words, just an old picture of when this author was 17-years-old. The image was a hyperlink and, if clicked, took me to a Telegram page showing various illustrations of me being lynched with a rope around my neck as well as me shooting myself.
This violent movement of Groypers, along with their many rivals and splinters across the online neo-Nazi scene, are eager to maintain their influence and momentum in conservative and Republican spaces. They are actively seeking out extremely young, often underaged, conservatives to recruit and groom for their neo-Nazi cause. Some have already given their absolute loyalty to Nick Fuentes. Genocidal ideations, sexual violence, and abuse of minors are the primary pillars for their cause— and that was on full display. As the conference continued, Ryan Sanchez and his Nationalist Network boys ended up getting kicked out by security after harassing and surrounding a CNN journalist. For now: the mainstream of the Republican Party— while heavily motivated by white nationalism, isn’t ready to fully accept the Groyper culture yet. We’re still in the era of dogwhistles and innuendo with regards to the fascism of Trump’s party. But his young supporters are getting restless. And radicalization machines like Turning Point USA provide a nurturing space for eliminationist hate in the base.