Neo-Nazi rally to protest Steinle verdict goes south quickly

The dismal showing lasted a mere 20 minutes before protesters were escorted away by police.

The small crowd were protesting the recent decision in the Kate Steinle case (Photo Credit: Luke Barnes)
The small crowd were protesting the recent decision in the Kate Steinle case (Photo Credit: Luke Barnes)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A gaggle of neo-Nazis and white supremacists tried and failed to make much of an impression outside the White House on Sunday, where they were met by a large and vocal group of counter-protesters.

The white nationalists, led by Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch, host of the podcast “The Daily Shoah”, had intended to protest the verdict in the Kate Steinle case. On Thursday, a jury in San Francisco handed down a verdict of not guilty for the undocumented immigrant on trial for Steinle’s murder, a decision which infuriated Trump supporters and white nationalists alike. Outside the White House on Sunday, protesters brought a sign reading “Build Kate’s Wall”, echoing President Trump’s own tweets in the aftermath of Thursday’s decision.

During the small rally, Spencer attempted to address Steine’s death, but was drowned out by counter-protesters, a large contingent of whom were from the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) Washington D.C. chapter, chanting “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA” and “Fuck off Nazi scum.” Even with a loudspeaker, Spencer struggled to address how Kate “represented everything that is white and wonderful about this country”; at several points, he also broke away from his speech to insult the counter-protesters.

In addition to Spencer and Enoch, neo-Nazi Tony Hovater was also present at Sunday’s rally. Hovater has become a trending topic over the past few weeks, following a bizarrely sympathetic profile of him in The New York Times, which detailed his embrace of neo-Nazism but also his love of Seinfeld. After the article was published, Hovater lost his job at an Ohio burger joint. He has since been asking for donations on a website called “Goyfundme.”

The pop-up neo-Nazi protest dispersed after a meager 20 minutes. The group of white supremacists were escorted away by a heavy police presence to jeers and shouts, including “Just like Stalingrad, you motherfuckers retreated!” The main group was escorted several blocks to the Farragut West Metro station, which was then temporarily closed to allow the neo-Nazis and white supremacists time to escape. Spencer, meanwhile, was hustled into a waiting SUV.

In a statement on Monday, the DSA Washington D.C. chapter, Metro D.C. DSA, said that over 30 of its members “successfully confronted these fascists [on Sunday] and made it clear that their hateful and racist politics…have no place in our city.” The group added that it was joined by the DC Antifascist Collective and members of the Industrial Workers of the World.

“Our counter-demonstration was organized the morning of the event, as Richard Spencer did not announce or publicize the event until the night before. Even without adequate time to prepare, we outnumbered them two to one,” Metro D.C. DSA stated. “It was because of this that we could chant over and disrupt their speeches advocating genocide. Our action was a success because fascists were not able to spew their dangerous excuse for an ideology and retreated from their own event. Metro D.C. DSA is committed to fighting back against racism and discrimination in all forms.”

After tweeting about the Steinle verdict last week, Trump weighed in on the case again on Sunday, calling it a “total miscarriage of justice” after initially using the case to campaign against sanctuary cities, despite the Steinle family’s request that the public not politicize Kate’s death.

Immigration officials have stated that the shooter, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate — who was convicted of one count of illegal possession of a firearm — will still be deported. He has previously been deported on five separate occasions.