Paul Gosar Turns on Nick Fuentes Over 'White Nationalist' Event Controversy

Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, turned against Nick Fuentes on Friday after facing criticism for recently attending his America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC).

Gosar, along with GOP Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, received bipartisan backlash for attending the event hosted by Fuentes, who has faced accusations of espousing white nationalist views. Democrats and Republicans took issue with their appearance, prompting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to plan meetings with both representatives.

Last year, Gosar appeared at AFPAC in-person, and recorded a welcome message for the conference this year. While Greene has sought to distance herself from Fuentes in the weeks following their appearance in February, Gosar remained quiet until now.

Speaking with Politico about the conference, the congressman blamed his appearance on a "miscommunication" and said the video was meant to go to other groups including the American Principles and Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) instead.

Gosar said that he "didn't know anything about the group" before speaking at the conference and dismissed the idea of meeting with McCarthy about the situation, saying he already explained to him what happened.

"The young people that were being misled by somebody—we should be trying to mentor, trying to change them. I've given up on dealing with Nick. Nick's got a problem with his mouth," he said.

Last year, however, Gosar defended his first appearance at AFPAC.

"We thought about it, and we thought: There is a group of young people that are becoming part of the election process, and becoming a bigger force," Gosar told The Washington Post. "So why not take that energy and listen to what they've got to say?"

Greene has also defended herself for attending the conference insisting that she didn't know who Fuentes was.

"I've never seen him speak. I've never seen a video. I don't know what his views are," she said to a CBS News reporter. "I went to talk to them about America First policies and I talked to them about what's important for our country going forward."

Some Republicans, however, have stood by their appearance. Janice McGeachin, a Trump-endorsed candidate for Idaho governor, said she would not "back off from the opportunity to talk to other conservatives across the country from America First policies."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, labels Fuentes as "a white nationalist livestreamer who advocates pulling the Republican Party further to the extreme far-right end of the political spectrum."

Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, criticized Gosar for attending the event, while also accusing her own party of not doing enough to condemn the conference.

"As Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep Paul Gosar speak at this white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event, silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling," she tweeted in February. "All Americans should renounce this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now."

Newsweek reached out to Gosar's office and AFPAC for comment Saturday morning, but did not hear back by publication. This story will be updated with any comment.

Paul Gosar turns against Nick Fuentes
Representative Paul Gosar, above in May 2021, turned against Nick Fuentes after facing criticism for attending his America First Political Action Conference in February.  Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images