Richard Spencer, a founder of the alt-right movement that seeks a whites-only state and that strongly backed Donald Trump for president, was expelled from the Conservative Political Action Conference after being criticized from its main stage, then giving interviews to a growing crowd of reporters.
Spencer, who has frequently attended CPAC without incident, became a minor media sensation during and after the 2016 election. One of the first speeches at this year’s conference challenged the media to stop referring to the alt-right as conservative.
“There is a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks,” said Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC. “We must not be deceived by [a] hateful, left-wing fascist group.”
Over a few confusing minutes, Schneider argued that the alt-right was philosophically left-wing because it departed from his definition of conservatism, in which “the individual” is sovereign.
“They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism,” Schneider said. “Fascists tend to want big government control.”
It made little impact in the conference’s main ballroom, and a few listeners walked out.
One of the walkouts came from Spencer himself, who attracted such a large crowd of reporters that security staff asked him to move away from the entrance, which was rapidly being blocked. More and more cameras and recorders were shoved toward Spencer as he reminded reporters that the self-appointed guardians of conservatism had trusted Trump long after the alt-right had.
The growing crowd attracted more nervous attention from security, and after a few more minutes, they arrived to expel Spencer.
“I’m not welcome on the property?” Spencer asked.
“I’m not going to debate this,” said the guard. “This is private property. They want you off the property.”