One America News Network (OANN), a far-right and pro-Trump cable news channel, hosted an admitted member of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), a violent neo-Nazi street gang who the FBI says was involved in the deadly “Unite the Right” neo-Nazi rally that took place in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. Tipping Point with Kara McKinney, a political commentary show on OANN, had guest host Alison Steinberg bring on disgraced former marine Ryan Sanchez for a “one on one” interview to push 2020 election conspiracy theories and to defend the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. The segment primarily centered around Ryan Sanchez’s friend and fellow white supremacist Christian Secor, a former UCLA student from Costa Mesa who was sentenced to over three years in prison for his participation in the January 6th Capitol insurrection and attempted coup d’etat.
Notably, Sanchez and Secor have worked together on militant political activity in the past. In 2021, Left Coast Right Watch News reported on how Sanchez led a small squad of fellow white supremacists in military fatigue, including Christian Secor, to topple a monolith in Atascadero, CA— to be replaced with a large wooden cross. All while chanting into the night that “Christ is King” and ranting to their camera about “illegal aliens from Mexico or outer space.” So who exactly is Ryan Sanchez, what is his background, and what does he stand for?
Ryan Sanchez is a confirmed member of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), a neo-Nazi street gang based in Southern California. Following an investigation by the FBI and Virginia state police, several members of RAM were sentenced on riot charges in 2019 relating to the deadly neo-Nazi 2017 march in Charlottesville, VA known as “Unite the Right” that ended with neo-Nazi James Fields murdering anti-racist activist Heather Heyer. A ProPublica report in 2017 helped identify several of their members that were also responsible for political violence in Berkeley, CA and Huntington Beach, CA. The founder of the gang, Robert Rundo, fled the United States and is reportedly hiding out in Serbia while trying to build a new network of neo-Nazis according to a report from Bellingcat. Ryan Sanchez claims to be good friends with Rundo and the other sentenced gang members. He shared a group photo of RAM on Telegram and wrote, “I am proud to have known such men as Rob Rundo, Ben Daly, Tom, and Michael. We must never forget our political prisoners of RAM." Sanchez also has ties to the Identity Evropa neo-Nazi movement and the America First Groyper neo-Nazi movement. He’s been pictured and filmed alongside Groyper founder and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.
According to Left Coast Right Watch’s reporting: Ryan Sanchez comes from a military family and served as a reservist for the United States Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton from August 6, 2018 to February 5, 2019. Sanchez often notes that he is very proud of his service, but his military career quickly collapsed like a house of cards due to his neo-Nazi ties. On a livestream the night before the Capitol insurrection, he vented about his dishonorable discharge. He started off by admitting: “I was kicked out of the Marine Corp because I allegedly was a member of RAM.” This is a big sore spot for Sanchez, who followed the admission with a racist and ego-driven rant, “I’m a fucking great Marine, and frankly I was probably one of the best in my unit, out of all those fucking scumbags, gangbangers that the Marines take in nowadays. Yeah. I come from a military family, it's a tradition, it's in my blood. And yet, they thought it’d be appropriate to drag me in and treat me like a terrorist, take my M4, take my pocket knife out of my pocket, and haul me off to fucking interrogation cell.”
The Pentagon has been attempting to crackdown on white supremacists in the United States military. They released a report last year which warned that a small but devoted contingent of neo-Nazi and white supremacist extremists have been trying to infiltrate the armed forces in order to apply military tactics to their domestic extremist activity. The report warns of the potential for “high-impact” actions from these players
Without his military ties and following the collapse of the Rise Above Movement after federal sentencing, Ryan Sanchez has pivoted to conservative political organizing and propaganda. He started a new group of white supremacists called the Nationalist Network. In their program, OANN even credited Sanchez as director of this new white supremacist group.
I have repeatedly reached out to Kara McKinney, the main OANN host of Tipping Point, for comment and to ask who made the call to bring Sanchez onto the network. So far, there has been no response. Notably, the official account for Tipping Point with Kara McKinney blocked me on Twitter after I shared background information on their neo-Nazi guest. During a livestream Monday evening, Sanchez boasted to his followers how this was his first major televised appearance on a news network, "I'm feeling the high of my political victory. I'm reading all the comments on Twitter of people losing their minds that the supposed neo-Nazi gang member Ryan Sanchez was on television. So I'm just basking in that.” He hopes that he can appear on Fox News next. He also notes that his followers keep asking him if Alison Steinberg, the OANN guest host on Tipping Point that interviewed him, is Jewish.
There is simply no excuse for bringing on a neo-Nazi gang member as a primary guest and platforming his white supremacist hate. If the staff of OANN are already aware of Sanchez’s extremist background, the public should be made aware that they’re actively engaging in the proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center has already warned that famed OANN anchor Jack Posobiec has longstanding ties to white supremacists and neo-Nazis. It appears that this is a growing issue with the whole station.