SEATTLE – The former president of the Washington State University College Republicans says he resigned this week because he didn’t want to be a distraction for the group, not because he did anything wrong in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
James Allsup, a 21-year-old who is about to start his senior year, told Q13 News he was in Charlottesville to cover the event for his 145,000 YouTube subscribers.
“I just made the decision now that this has gone on, and these ridiculous totalitarian people are trying to get me expelled from a public university, so I decided in order to allow the club to start the year with this as not a distraction, I would step down,” Allsup said.
Allsup found himself in the news after the Twitter account “Yes, You’re Racist” tweeted out a photo it claimed was Allsup among the group carrying tiki torches at the University of Virginia on Friday. Among the group were white nationalists and people performing Nazi salutes and chanting "Sieg Heil."
“I think that everyone has a responsibility to expose bigotry,” Logan Smith, the man behind the Twitter account, told CNN. “White people, in particular, have a responsibility to stand up against white supremacy, because if we don’t challenge bigotry whenever we see it, then we are being silently complicit in it.
Allsup said his attendance shouldn’t have been news because he’s publicly talked about going for months and set up a fundraiser to finance the trip. He said he's not a white nationalist, describing himself as a paleoconservative or right-wing libertarian.
“I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong,” Allsup said. “This is by no means an admission of guilt or anything. I have fully condemned the KKK, I have fully condemned Nazis, all of that kind of stuff.”
Allsup said he and his family have received death threats this week.
“Very disgusting individuals who feel the need to target people’s families over their politics,” he said. “It’s absolutely appalling and disgusting in my opinion.”
A story in the Spokesman-Review on Tuesday said Allsup has become a key figure in WSU's increasingly radicalized campus politics. Allsup called the Spokesman Review “a very dishonest paper” and said, “libel is a real thing.”
“It’s this very weird dichotomy we have politically in America, where anyone on the right is supposed to constantly condemn and say ‘I’m not a Nazi, I’m not a part of the KKK,’” Allsup said. “Which I have no problem saying.
“But I’m just wondering when the media’s going to ask people like Bernie Sanders to disavow the communist pins and flags that have been seen at his events. When is the left going to call on Democratic politicians to disavow Antifa, who act belligerently on behalf of the political left? They’re not, and they never will be.”