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Opinion >  Column

Shawn Vestal: As one Trump conspiracy dies, James Allsup returns to offer another

James Allsup, an alt-right provocateur whose views have been widely condemned as racist, is shown in July 2018 as he is being introduced at a gathering of the Spokane County GOP by then-chair Cecliy Wright. 
James Allsup, an alt-right provocateur whose views have been widely condemned as racist, is shown in July 2018 as he is being introduced at a gathering of the Spokane County GOP by then-chair Cecliy Wright. 

With the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the underpinnings of the wildest conspiracies associated with the Trump presidency were dealt a serious blow.

The prophecies of QAnon, which held that Trump would usher in a day of reckoning for an elite cabal of pedophiles, did not come to pass. Now James Allsup – who rose to racist prominence as one of the fresh young faces of a renewed alt-right before being booted off most mainstream online platforms – has arrived with a conspiracy to replace the conspiracy.

Trump was in on it, see. Forget QAnon. It’s now clear, Allsup and company can report, that QAnon and Trump were merely part of the much deeper game: the global Jewish conspiracy against white Americans. The Capitol riots on Jan. 6 were the final proof.

This is the argument put forth in the past couple of weeks by Allsup and the host of one of the leading alt-right podcasts, who goes by the name Jazzhands McFeels. Trump instigated the riots and then abandoned the good-hearted white patriots who stormed the Capitol once they’d done what he told them to do, they said.

The goal?

“To crush white people,” Allsup said.

A lot of folks have been wondering what Allsup, 25, has been up to, in the wake of those riots, and particularly wondering whether he might have been there; his former podcast partner was.

But in a pair recent episodes of “Fash the Nation,” it’s clear that Allsup has left the Trump train. The two most recent episodes of the podcast total almost seven hours of Allsup and McFeels “analyzing” recent events, spinning out conspiracies, casually slurring Jews and snickering, praising the police shootings of Blacks as justified in every instance and complaining of the grievous injustices committed against the white American.

But the main thrust of the episodes was the “smoking gun” that the riots were a trap, set by Trump in collaboration with the global Jewish conspiracy.

The rioters were only doing what they had to do, in the face of everything working against white people in American life, Allsup said, and what they were told to do by the president. Then, when they actually took action, they found out they had been ensnared in a trap, arrested and facing jail time.

“These people legitimately thought they were fighting in the most important battle for their country,” he said. “I’m never going to blame the person who gets caught up in the trick. I’m going to blame the trickster. I’m going to blame the liar.”

McFeels put it more colorfully: “Trump is the guy that picks the fight in the bar, runs out the back door and comes back with the cops and helps them put the handcuffs on you.”

A rising profile

After the Capitol riots, lots of folks who keep an eye on the extremist right wondered whether Allsup might have been there. After all, he started the Trump presidency making somewhat regular appearances at events where the far right celebrated its political ascendancy – such as the Deploraball inauguration party in January 2017, Richard Spencer’s Free Speech Rally later that year, and the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

He was one of the notable, rising figures in this new class of American racist, putting a younger, hipper gloss on an age-old evil. He later celebrated Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comment as an affirmation of what he and his fellow travelers were doing, and he has repeatedly mocked the death of the young woman, Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting the racist march, including in the most recent podcasts.

He was a former head of the College Republicans at Washington State University who graduated from pulling build-the-wall stunts on the Glenn Terrell Mall, in which he goaded students of color into fighting with him so he could capture it on video, to peddling racist, faux-academic monologues regarding the superior IQs of white people or the coming Great Replacement of white people on YouTube. He gathered hundreds of thousands of followers before YouTube gave him the boot, along with other platforms.

He was also associated with white supremacist group Identity Evropa. At a conference for that group, he gave an address advising the audience members to infiltrate their local GOP operations – which he did by becoming, briefly, a precinct committee officer in Whitman County.

In 2018, the Spokane County GOP invited him to speak and Chairwoman Cecily Wright presented him as a victim of “label lynching” who had been unfairly tarnished by the media. That created a controversy that led to Wright’s resignation and denunciations of Allsup by some local elected Republicans.

Others in the party, though, have supported Wright and even Allsup’s appearance at the event. Newly elected Rep. Rob Chase, a Liberty Stater from the Matt Shea wing of the party, hired Wright as his legislative assistant and said last week that the criticism was “a hit job” and political correctness run amok.

Allsup has mostly disappeared from view for a couple of years, in part because he’s had to take his show to lower-profile platforms. He had a residence in Spokane Valley during 2019 and 2020, but has apparently returned to his hometown of Bothell, Washington.

He hasn’t stopped sharing his views online, by any means.

‘Art hated them first’

At BitChute, a video-hosting site known for hosting far-right figures, Allsup posted many videos over the past couple of years, though none since the summer.

These covered many familiar Allsup subjects. In June, he posted one with this introduction: “In this video, we explore how excessive prosecution, media lynchings, and unpunished black criminality all work together to hold whites hostage in our own country.”

In April, he posted a video about the scourge of Jews and immigrants trying to give the coronavirus to white people. Other posts include him “outing” a journalist as an antifa organizer, criticizing Chicago as an “anti-white disaster,” accusing elites of using the coronavirus to orchestrate a power grab, and warning of runaway Black criminality: “Open Season on White People – Self-defense is ILLEGAL for White people.”

He also posted a video about “the absolute worst class I took in college” – the history of modern art. Allsup passionately dislikes modern and postmodern art, and the evolution in art away from the strictly representational. More than that, though, he sees modern art as a “CIA psy-op” – or psychological operation – intended to destroy the West by stripping it of relevant cultural landmarks.

“There are no more paintings depicting people that look and live like you,” said Allsup. “Art is a pillar of culture of every civilization. In America, it’s been taken away from the people. … The average American hates art for good reason. Art, they believe, hated them first.”

He popped up in early January on “Fash the Nation,” where he mostly plays the role of a chortling Ed McMahon to McFeels’ bigoted, rambling Johnny Carson.

The show evinces a continuous anti-Semitism, and a commitment to being “J-woke” – awakened to the supposed global Jewish conspiracy against whites. It’s ignorant and awful, and ultimately incoherent but for the clarity of the hatred, and it runs on for hours and hours.

I didn’t listen to every minute of the two recent podcasts including Allsup, but I came close. Most I won’t bother to share here, but here’s a representative example of McFeels criticizing people who are still out there peddling the QAnon narrative: “You’re basically a Jew. If you’re just grifting off people and taking their money and not telling them the truth – you’re Jewish. You’re behaving like Jew and you’re exhibiting and displaying and engaging in Jewish behavior, and that’s unacceptable.”

Allsup chuckles along approvingly. At another moment, McFeels said that as sad as the Capitol-riot-trap was, it was at least a well-deserved assault on the building where the U.S. voted to go to war against the Nazis:

“If we’re going to desecrate the building where the illegitimate Congress signed a war of declaration against Adolf Hitler and the destruction of the German people – that’s as good a reason as any to storm” the Capitol building.

One of the most-quoted things that Allsup said when he spoke in Washington, D.C., four years ago with the Richard Spencer crowd was: “Racist is not a real word. … They use it to attack and demonize people and it doesn’t mean anything.”

His profile has shrunk a lot since then, but he’s still hard at work proving himself wrong.

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