GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart is following the apparent Twitter account for the leader of the neo-Confederate hate group.
Stewart is one of just 257 people following a seven-year-old Twitter account that appears to belong to Michael Hill, who leads the League of the South. The league is a racist neo-Confederate secessionist group that marched during the first Unite the Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, and calls for a Christian theocracy. Hill and other members have defended slavery, with Hill calling it “God-ordained.
Stewart, the Republican nominee in Virginia’s upcoming Senate race, has run on a Confederate-friendly platform, appearing at pro-Confederate statue events with Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler. Stewart has also praised southern secession and has extensive ties to League of the South associate George Randall, the pair recently posing for a picture together when Randall was wearing a League of the South shirt, Mediaite reported.
“Now the media says we need to research every individual we follow on Twitter,” the Stewart campaign said in a statement to The Daily Beast.
Stewart follows what appears to be Hill’s legitimate Twitter account, which was created in 2011, and uses Hill’s name and a League of the South profile picture. The account shares many of the same posts at approximately the same time as Hill’s accounts on VK (a Russian social media site) and Gab (a white supremacist-friendly social network). The Twitter account’s URL references a 17th-century Scottish warrior. (Hill is a former professor of British history at a predominantly black university, where, in a private email group, he mocked his black students and colleagues.)
The account frequently shares racist, anti-semitic content including from at least one known neo-Nazi, glorifies far-right violence, and Thursday called for “a cleansing” in response to a picture of anti-racist protesters.
Despite apparently belonging to a prominent white nationalist, the account has just 257 followers. Three of its earliest followers use the League of the South logo as their profile picture. Other followers include an apparent member of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, self-described League of the South members, and people whose biographies describe them= as “fash” (fascist) or reference the white supremacist “14 words.”
Stewart is one of the account’s more recent followers, although it is unclear exactly when he followed Hill. (The next person to follow Hill was a user with the handle “FashyGentleman” whose bio describes him as a “Southern Nationalist”.) Stewart follows approximately 11,500 people on Twitter, including a number espousing extremist views. Some public figures follow back people who follow them, which Stewart appears to do.
Stewart also follows at least one of Hill’s League of the South-promoting followers, a person with League of the South logos in her profile picture, who describes herself as a “nationalist,” “C’ville vet,” (a far-right term for people who attended the first Unite the Right rally), a “Proud Goy” (non-Jewish peson), and “Jwoke” (anti-Jewish).
Stewart’s connections to neo-Confederates and League of the South extend into the real world. During a failed 2017 gubernatorial campaign, Stewart attended an event hosted by a known southern secessionist George Randall, during which Stewart gave a speech praising secession, CNN reported. Randall and his wife Donna have organized multiple Stewart events, and Randall and his brother have acted as security for Stewart, they told the New York Times. Stewart denied that the brothers had acted as his security force, but Mediaite uncovered a series of pictures of Stewart and Randall together, including one in which Randall wears a League of the South shirt in front of a Confederate flag.
Mediaite also surfaced pictures of known white supremacists at Stewart rallies, including a member of the now-defunct neo-Nazi outlet the Traditionalist Worker Party; a man with ties to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke; and a racist internet figure who introduced Stewart at one of his campaign events. Stewart, himself, has previously worked alongside Kessler, the Unite the Right organizer, and endorsed extreme anti-Semitic congressional candidate Paul Nehlen, only recently walking back his endorsement.
The Stewart campaign is also stocked with members of the racist right. A staffer in Stewart’s local office, who volunteers with the Stewart campaign was a member of a Facebook message group that planned the failed Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, D.C., The Daily Beast first reported. Stewart’s spokesperson Rick Shaftan has described multiple majority-black cities as “shitholes” and urged people not open businesses in black neighborhoods, and a former Stewart field director appeared to praise the founder of the American Nazi Party on Facebook.
On Wednesday, Stewart retweeted a Twitter user whose other tweets espoused white supremacist views, defending slavery and eugenics. The person shares a username with a person who was involved in a group chat for planning the first Unite the Right rally. Stewart later deleted the tweet.