FACT CHECK: Was A White Supremacist Invited To The White House A Day After The Midterms?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

People on Twitter said Wednesday that Patrick Casey, executive director of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, was invited to the White House after he tweeted photos of himself in front of the building’s south front the day after the midterm elections.

“Very fine Nazi invited to Trump’s White House,” Kaili Joy Gray, managing editor at ShareBlue, said in a tweet.

“Pittsburgh still fresh in our minds, the Trump admin has invited a vicious white nationalist to the White House,” liberal group VoteVets said.

“So a White nationalist leader is invited to the White House and people are arguing on TV if the President has a team that supports racists?” said Mike Shea, founder of the website Alternative Press.

Many other laypeople said that the White House invited a white nationalist after Casey tweeted the photos.

Verdict: False

Casey visited the White House in October during the fall garden tour, which is open to the public.

Fact Check:

Casey’s tweet gained traction after PBS News Hour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor cited it to defend a question she asked President Donald Trump earlier that day.

“On the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists,” she said at a press conference Wednesday. “There are some people that say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric. What do you make of that?”

“That’s such a racist question,” Trump responded.

“My Q was fair & timely,” Alcindor tweeted later in the day. “Patrick Casey, executive director of Identity Evropa, which Southern Poverty Law Center says is part of the ‘alt-right’s’ effort to recruit white, college-aged men and make them the ‘new face of white nationalism,’ tweeted that he was at the WH today.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also publicized Casey’s tweet. “We demand the White House answer why he was there,” he tweeted.

Identity Evropa calls itself an “American Identitarian organization” that aims to “create a better world for people of European heritage.” The group helped organize the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended with one of the attendees killing 32-year-old counter protester Heather Heyer with a car. Casey told NBC News in October that he wants to “take over the GOP as much as possible.”

A story in The Daily Beast said that Casey would not have been able to reach the White House south front on a normal tour, and that he “likely would have had to be escorted by a Trump administration staffer wearing an official badge to get that kind of access.”

The White House press office later clarified that Casey “was one of more than twenty-five thousand people who came to the White House Fall Garden Tour, which is open to the public. Free tickets are made available to anyone who wants to attend.”

The White House Garden Tour allows visitors to “stroll around the White House grounds” twice a year on weekends in the spring and fall. The 2018 Fall Garden Tour took place on the weekend of Oct. 20, more than two weeks before Casey tweeted the photos. Garden tour visitors may snap photos in front of the south front, as Casey did.

Casey confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that he obtained tickets to the garden tour himself. He expressed amusement that so many people believed that he was invited to the White House.

“This couldn’t have turned out more fantastically–the Left, faux-conservatives, and mainstream media all fell for it…just as planned,” Casey tweeted Wednesday.

“And for the record, I have no ties, formal or informal, to anyone in the White House,” Casey clarified.

The Daily Beast later updated its story after the White House said that Casey attended the garden tour, and Alcindor noted the White House response in another tweet.

VoteVets deleted the tweet following an inquiry from TheDCNF. Gray, VoteVets and Shea did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter

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