Leaked chats show white nationalist group's plot to infiltrate Turning Point USA - 2019-03-11
When media nonprofit Unicorn Riot obtained and leaked Identity Evropa's internal chats last week, it revealed the group's long-term strategy to distance itself from the ugliness of the violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and gain a foothold in more mainstream, student GOP organizations.
Identity Evropa helped plan the white nationalist rally in August 2017, which left one person dead. But the leaked chats — from Discord, a platform popular among gamers, and Slack, a chat application often used for office communications — confirm that the group wants nothing to do with the swastikas and Confederate flags associated with old-school white power movements. Instead, they've embraced a preppy, patriotic aesthetic and rely on Greco-Roman imagery to evoke European ancestry to make their brand seem more benign and attract conservative college-aged men.
In particular, many members viewed Turning Point USA, a MAGA-friendly student organization with more than 1,000 chapters at high schools and colleges nationwide, as fertile grounds for recruitment. A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that the number of hate groups in America hit a record high last year, driven largely by a surge in groups catering to young, college-aged white men.