Perry Stein, Washington Post, November 2, 2017
The property manager at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center has rejected a request by white nationalist Richard Spencer to host a conference in the building, citing security concerns.
The think tank that Spencer heads, the National Policy Institute, had planned to host a conference in the federal building Nov. 19. The two sides had been in communication for months about the event.
Debra Cope, a spokeswoman for CommCore Consulting, the crisis-management firm the building’s property management company hired to handle reaction to the rejection, said the decision was made because of concerns about safety.
“We have never and would never decline a meeting on the basis of the content of the speech,” she said. “But we concluded it would be difficult, if not impossible, to secure the safety of everyone, including participants in the meeting.”
Spencer’s group has held multiple events at the Reagan Building. He said Thursday that he was “shocked” by the decision.
“One of the reasons why we use this building is because it is a federal facility,” Spencer said. “This is not a private facility canceling on us — this is a federal facility. This seems to be a First Amendment issue.”
TCMA said in a statement that the violence that unfolded after Charlottesville in August, as well as disruptions that occurred at other National Policy Institute events in the building, led them to reject hosting the conference.
“We concluded that extraordinary and costly measures would need to be taken to protect against the significant risk of violence and injuries posed to our clients, event attendees, tenants, employees and the general public, as well as damage to the property,” the company said.