Perry challenger Jeffries hosting Christmas party with chair of alleged hate group
The chairman of an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center is set to speak at a pro-President Donald Trump, pro-Roger Stone Christmas party hosted by a Republican challenger in the state's 10th Congressional District.
Republican Bobby Jeffries, who is challenging Rep. Scott Perry in the 2020 GOP primary, on Thursday, Dec. 5, announced the "America First Xmas Bash" that will take place Monday, Dec. 9, in Hershey, Dauphin County.
Six other guests are set to speak at the event. That includes Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an "alt-right fight club."
Tarrio, who is Afro-Cuban, is also running to oust U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., in 2020.
"I'm not concerned about it," Jeffries said. "Enrique is a patriot. He's a good friend of mine. He's a person of color, and some people say all that white supremacist stuff (about the group), but it's not true. He's a good guy."
The Proud Boys, created by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016, has been accused of neo-fascist ideologies, violence and promoting fear about the destruction of Western culture.
"Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: Rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists," the Southern Poverty Law Center has written. "They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. "
McInnes in February filed a defamation lawsuit against the center, a case that has yet to be decided.
Tarrio on Friday dismissed the center's findings, saying that "they have no official standing with anybody" and that labeling the organization as white nationalist is untrue and problematic.
"An actual white nationalist has no idea to hide the white nationalism that they have," Tarrio said. "They won't argue with you and ask for retractions."
The group has made national headlines on more than one occasion over the years.
After a May 2017 Trump rally in Berkeley, California, the group organized a crowdfunding campaign for Kyle Chapman, a man who hit a counter-protester over the head with a wooden dowel.
Chapman later formed the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, a separate wing of the organization known for promoting violence to combat ideas it views as an attack on Western ideologies.
A month later, members of the Proud Boys and neo-Nazi groups traveled from all over the country to the campus to rally again. Leftists counter-protesters also attended the event, resulting in violence and 21 arrests.
Then, in June 2017, Proud Boys members attended the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event was organized by white supremacist Jason Kessler, a former member of the organization.
Proud Boys was one of several entities named in a May 2019 lawsuit by Bill Burke, who was seriously injured in the infamous car attack that followed the event.
Jeffries is hosting the upcoming Christmas event along with Rally for Roger, an advocacy group for Roger Stone. The former Trump aide last month was indicted on all seven counts against him, including obstruction of an official proceeding.
The event will come a day before Trump holds a "Keep America Great" rally at Hershey's Giant Center.
The event listing does not provide a time or location due to security concerns, Jeffries said. Such information is available to those who RSPV on its website free of charge.
Other speakers at the event include DeAnna Lorraine, an author and "MAGA dating expert" running against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in 2020.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.