Report: Key aide to Republican Arizona congressman is white nationalist activist

Investigation by Talking Points Memo reveals Paul Gosar’s digital director Wade Searle is behind social media profiles active in movement led by Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes

Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican-Arizona, leaves the House chamber at the Capitol in Washington, January 5, 2023. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican-Arizona, leaves the House chamber at the Capitol in Washington, January 5, 2023. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The digital director for a far-right Republican member of Congress is a major activist in a white supremacist movement, according to an investigation by the liberal news site Talking Points Memo.

Wade Searle, a top aide to Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, is part of an active group which includes Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes as one its most prominent figures, the site revealed.

TPM said it uncovered “an extensive digital trail” indicating that Searle was the person behind the “ChickenRight” and “Chikken” usernames posting messages on social media pages of the Groyper movement.

In addition, Chikken posted his allegiance to Fuentes during a live-streaming event. Fuentes, host of the “America First” podcast, acknowledged Chikken as “one of the best.”

Nick Martin, a writer who tracks right-wing activity in Arizona, told the site that the user associated with Searle “has been a dedicated acolyte of Nick Fuentes, with the Hitler-loving white supremacist leader going as far as to call him a loyal friend and one of the ‘strongest soldiers of the movement.'”

The report claimed that Searle’s alleged activities on far-right websites began before he started working in the Gosar’s office and continued during his employment.

Gosar, his chief of staff, his press secretary, and Searle did not answer requests for a response by the news site.

Nicole Hemmer, a historian at Vanderbilt University who studies the far-right, told TPM that it would be “pretty extreme” for Gosar to have a Groyper activist working in his office.

“The Groypers are essentially the equivalent of neo-Nazis,” Hemmer said. “A kind of even sub rosa identification of Groypers as congressional aides is the same as having Holocaust deniers, or alt righters, or, you know, Aryan Nations people. It’s as extreme and as racist as you get in the United States.”

Gosar himself has already been directly linked to Fuentes. The lawmaker appeared via video message at the last two editions of Fuentes’s “America First” conference, and attended in person in 2021.

In July 2021, the lawmaker used a congressional letterhead when he wrote to the FBI to criticize the fact that Fuentes had been put on a no-fly list.

But that a Groyper activist is on Gosar’s staff indicates “a broader social and political set of connections” between the lawmaker and the movement, Hemmer said.

Gosar has been criticized for his ties to white nationalist groups for the past several years. He has held fundraisers with Fuentes and has repeatedly declined to condemn Fuentes’s movement’s ideology when asked, despite condemnations from top Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Democrat-controlled House voted to remove Gosar from his committee roles in 2021 after he posted an animated video manipulated to show him killing progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Arizona representative claimed Jewish billionaire George Soros funded the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and compared the FBI agents who raided former US president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to the “Brownshirt” Nazi militias.

Last month, Gosar used his official House email listserv to promote an article from a Holocaust-denying website that praised him for condemning the “Jewish warmongers” backing US support for the “Nazi” regime in Ukraine.

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