In recent years, VDARE’s audience has grown to include not just more mainstream anti-immigrant groups, but also other prominent figures on the right, ranging from Fox News hosts to the Trump administration.
Drawing on Brimelow’s previous stature in the conservative movement, along with the experience of the site’s other contributors in media, politics, and academia, VDARE.com enjoys an appearance of authority that other white nationalist organizations can only envy. Throughout the years, its contributors have included academic proponents of scientific racism, wayward conservative commentators, and big-name pundits such as Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Pat Buchanan. During the Trump era, however, VDARE.com managed to walk a tight line. It has provided favorable coverage of the white nationalist movement, employed some of the movement’s most prominent propagandists and participated in an array of white nationalist events while simultaneously cozying up to like-minded extremists in the White House and elsewhere in the Trump administration. Indeed, in 2019, VDARE.com’s umbrella organization, the VDARE Foundation, was awarded $1.5 million by the conservative dark money group, DonorsTrust – a fund populated by Republican megadonor families, including the Kochs, Mercers and DeVoses.
In Their Own Words
“Is it racist to say that it is silly to worry about all the hate whitey rhetoric in the media these days because African-Americans aren’t capable of organizing something really bad?” – Steve Sailer, in a column titled “‘Cut Down the White Trees’: Rwandan Genocide-Level Anti-White Rhetoric,” April 5, 2021
“In modern America, we periodically offer up white men as human sacrifices to the PC gods. … The rest of us just keep our heads down and pray we won’t be next.” – Ann Coulter, in a VDARE.com column, March 31, 2021
“Garland is typical of all Biden’s cabinet picks. All, regardless of their other qualifications, are fanatical immigration enthusiasts. Their mission: dispossess the Historic American Nation, hasten The Great Replacement.” – Pseudonymous contributor “Washington Watcher II,” in a VDARE.com column, March 3, 2021
“But there’s no doubt that something in that book got to [President Donald Trump], because the way his speech was set up. His announcement speech went to the question of Hispanic crime, specifically rape. And [Ann Coulter]’s book is a very powerful statement of the fact that crime in this country is ethnically variegated. There’s ethnic specialization in crime. And Hispanics do specialize in rape, particularly of children. They’re very prone to it, compared to other groups.” – Peter Brimelow on former President Trump’s immigration policies at the American Renaissance conference, 2017
“The governments of the West are waging a campaign of slow extermination against their own core populations. It is white genocide.” – Jason Kessler, in a blog post on VDARE.com posted two months before the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, June 19, 2017
“The Main Stream Media is missing the real story on the Republican Party’s suicidal push for an Amnesty/Immigration Surge. The Party may be on the brink of a sweeping realignment – and the critical transformative figure is Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. This realignment is likely because, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming battles over legalizing the tens of millions of illegal infiltrators in Occupied America, the Republican leadership has already failed.” – Kevin DeAnna, writing under the pseudonym “James Kirkpatrick" in a Feb. 6, 2014, VDARE.com column
“White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don't see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group.” – John Derbyshire in his inaugural column on VDARE.com, May 10, 2012
VDARE was founded in 1999 by former Forbes editor and author Peter Brimelow. It has since grown to be one of the most prominent organizations in the United States, uniting both supporters of the more mainstream anti-immigrant movement and the white nationalist fringe through its promotion of a nativist agenda. Though its authors claim to decry the conservative establishment, which the site often refers to derogatorily as “Conservatism, Inc.,” it has served as a home for a number of figures who were once mainstays of the conservative movement.
In 1999, Brimelow founded the Center for American Unity, a Virginia-based nonprofit, of which VDARE.com was a part. The center funded VDARE until 2007, and in 2008, Brimelow established the VDARE Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity, to serve as the website’s sponsor. The site is named after Virginia Dare – said to be the first English child born in the New World, in 1587. The disappearance of Dare and over 100 other colonists at Roanoke Island, located in what is now North Carolina, has been a persistent and potent symbol of white supremacy going as far back to the 19th century. Brimelow says that he once planned to bestow Dare’s name upon “the heroine of a projected fictional concluding chapter in Alien Nation [his best-selling anti-immigration book], about the flight of the last white family in Los Angeles.” He added that, to him, the two cases seemed “symmetrical.” Brimelow’s argument in Alien Nation mirrored the same themes central to the white nationalist belief in “white genocide.” The term refers to a racist conspiracy theory that essentially claims whites are being systematically replaced by non-whites, such as through an influx of non-white immigration.
Brimelow’s foray into this country’s nativist movement owes a debt to white nationalist John Tanton, the architect of this country’s anti-immigrant movement. As former Intelligence Project director Heidi Beirich detailed in her 2008 piece, “Courting Conservatives,” Tanton “brought [Brimelow] into the nativist fold.” She writes that “In a Nov. 2, 1995, memo, Tanton wrote that he ‘encouraged Brimelow to write his book’ and ‘provided the necessary research funds to get it done.’” So many efforts to spread anti-immigrant sentiment in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s bore Tanton’s fingerprints, and Brimelow and VDARE’s presence is no different.
Some of the site’s early contributors included Brimelow’s twin brother John and Joseph Fallon (Brimelow's main researcher on Alien Nation). Steve Sailer – a proponent of scientific racism who, like Brimelow, was pushed out of the National Review in the 1990s – has been one of the site’s longtime contributors as well. It also served as a home for archives of columns from such men as Sam Francis, the late editor of the newspaper of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.
Throughout the 2010s, Brimelow transformed VDARE from a relatively obscure nativist blog into a site that, through its intense, critical focus on non-white immigration and willingness to attack mainstream conservatives for being insufficiently supportive of nativist policies, continued to attract a wealth of paleoconservative writers. (The term “paleoconservative” refers to a form of conservatism that stands in opposition to the more mainstream neoconservative wing of the movement while prioritizing revanchist nationalism and, as a result, strict anti-immigrant policies.) Increasingly, VDARE provided a bridge between the anti-immigrant right and the white nationalist movement. The likes of Joe Guzzardi embody VDARE’s straddling of those movements. Guzzardi’s writing appeared on VDARE, where he was also an editor, between 2001 and 2010. Guzzardi has also held positions at the anti-immigrant Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a group with extensive ties to the loose-knit network of organizations and individuals in Tanton’s orbit. White nationalist Garret Hardin, whom upon his death Tanton and Brimelow both eulogized in print, co-founded CAPS.
VDARE continued to enmesh itself throughout the 2010s with an array of far-right figures. In particular, it expanded its ties to the white nationalist fringe through its participation in conferences organized by white nationalist groups and nurturing a growing array of contributors with strong ties to the white nationalist movement. Among some of VDARE’s earliest contributors in this space are Jared Taylor, the editor of the white nationalist site American Renaissance, and Kevin MacDonald, a now-retired antisemitic psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach. “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler has written semi-regularly for the site, including about the legal challenges facing the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who organized the deadly rally. Finally, Kevin DeAnna, a longtime white nationalist propagandist, has written for the site since 2011 under the pseudonym “James Kirkpatrick” while simultaneously moonlighting at a number of other white nationalist sites. As Hatewatch reported in March 2020, DeAnna has also provided editorial and social media support for the organization at various points throughout the years as well.
Brimelow and other VDARE contributors became mainstays at white nationalist conferences and events throughout the country, including ones organized by the National Policy Institute and American Renaissance. The National Policy Institute, under the leadership of white nationalist Richard Spencer, has played a central role in facilitating white nationalist activity, particularly in the first half of the Trump era. Its conferences brought together a more youthful wave of white supremacists together with older, more established extremists. While Brimelow has denied on multiple occasions being part of the white nationalist movement Spencer and others dubbed the “alt-right,” saying at one point he was “too damn old” to be a part of it, his associations indicate otherwise. Indeed, as early as 2008, Brimelow addressed the inaugural meeting of the H.L. Mencken Club – the same gathering in which Mencken Club founder, Paul Gottfried, gave a speech that has since been credited with launching the alt-right.
In February 2020, the VDARE Foundation purchased the Berkeley Springs Castle in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, for $1.4 million. It was, as Hatewatch reported in March 2020, paid for entirely in cash. In a post from Feb. 26, 2020, Lydia Brimelow – Peter Brimelow’s wife, as well as VDARE’s publisher and the president of the VDARE Foundation – wrote that the property was, in part, meant to be “a space where we can meet and share ideas without fear of deplatforming.” In addition to its secure and secluded location, the castle offers VDARE geographical proximity to Washington, D.C., which can be reached from Berkeley Springs in less than two hours.
A home for ‘brilliant and accomplished … White Nationalists’
Though Brimelow has derided efforts to characterize the site as “white nationalist” as “guilt-by-association conspiracy theories” – at one point suing The New York Times over the use of such classification – the roster of VDARE’s contributors, both historically and at present, belies these claims.
A mere two years after VDARE’s founding, Jared Taylor – a white nationalist who has claimed that requiring whites to live among non-whites is “utterly unnatural” – began writing for the site, with his first column appearing on VDARE.com in 2001. Brimelow and other VDARE contributors, such as John Derbyshire, have frequented American Renaissance conferences as well. Brimelow’s affection for Taylor and his work was best illustrated in 2005, when Brimelow referred to him as “perhaps the most brilliant and accomplished figure among White Nationalists.”
DeAnna, perhaps even more than Taylor, ties the site definitively to multiple wings of the white power movement through his written work, on-the-ground organizing with nationalist groups, and involvement with the neo-Volkish group Wolves of Vinland. DeAnna began writing for the site as “Kirkpatrick” in 2011 while still a staffer at WorldNetDaily. Under this persona, he often wrote about topics dear to VDARE’s heart, including critiquing mainstream conservatives and pushing virulently anti-immigrant content, while injecting a white nationalist spin of his own. This includes pushing the work of white supremacist terrorists or texts that have inspired their violent acts, as Hatewatch has detailed. For instance, in one post, DeAnna, writing as “Kirkpatrick," linked to a manifesto penned by the perpetrator of the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack in March 2019. The text has since been banned in that country, and its distribution can carry criminal charges.
Though DeAnna connects the site to even more explicit white nationalist sites through his other preferred pen name, “Gregory Hood,” his work extended beyond being a propagandist. As Hatewatch detailed in a four-part investigation published in March 2020, DeAnna helped build the ideological infrastructure for what became the alt-right while engaging in some behind-the-scenes organizing. In 2014, for instance, DeAnna helped make the National Policy Institute’s “The Future of Europe” conference in Budapest, Hungary, happen after several of its speakers and organizers, including Richard Spencer himself, were either blocked from entering the country or detained by Hungarian authorities. All the while, DeAnna, writing as “James Kirkpatrick,” covered the conference at VDARE, providing readers with regular updates and footage from the event.
Today, DeAnna is listed as one of the site’s four staffers on its “About” page. He is also a semi-regular participant in VDARE’s podcasts and its digital book club.
Furthermore, Brimelow’s own comments about his white nationalist ties indicates an awareness of his own importance in that movement. At conference hosted by the National Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., in November 2016, Brimelow described himself as “sort of a god-uncle or something like that” for the movement he referred to as the alt-right. His comment was referring, in part, to a column that he wrote in 2006, which posited that changes in demographics as a result of non-white immigration would lead to growing interest in white nationalist ideals. It was far from the first, or last, time Brimelow would present surges in white nationalist attitudes and violence as an inevitable reaction to a lack of strong nativist policies. Indeed, as he told an audience at the 2011 American Renaissance conference, citing another VDARE contributor, “If you don’t like the ideas of whites organizing to defend their interests, maybe you should have thought of that before driving them into a minority through immigration policy.”
However, Brimelow’s “god-uncle” comment was also a clear nod to how VDARE.com’s nativist ideals had been transformed to meet the needs of a younger generation of far-right extremists. By providing a platform to younger white nationalist extremists, VDARE helped reappropriate Brimelow’s nativist messaging for an increasingly younger, and increasingly radical, audience.
VDARE’s ties to the mainstream right and anti-immigrant movement
VDARE has long provided a home for racist writers disaffected with the conservative mainstream. These include Pat Buchanan, a paleoconservative commentator and former third-party presidential candidate, who has long allowed his column to be republished on the site; the conservative columnists Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, who have either attended VDARE events in the past or aided in their fundraising efforts, in addition to allowing their columns be republished on the site; and Steve Sailer, a former correspondent with UPI who has been writing for the site since the early 2000s. It also has been home to a number of National Review contributors as well, including John Derbyshire, who was fired in 2012 after publishing a racist, anti-Black essay for Taki’s Magazine, and Robert Weissberg, who was let go that same year about a month after he spoke at an American Renaissance conference. (Brimelow, himself a onetime National Review contributor, was forced out in 1997 as part of the magazine’s efforts to rid itself of white nationalists.)
These ties haven’t stopped Brimelow, albeit amid a stirring of controversy, from appearing at the annual CPAC conference, where other VDARE affiliates, including Malkin and Coulter, have also taken the stage to stoke ire toward immigrants. In 2012, Brimelow spoke alongside Derbyshire and Robert Vandervoort – then executive director of another Tanton-affiliated group, ProEnglish – on a panel titled “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the Pursuit of Diversity is Weakening the American Identity.” The panel exemplified how Brimelow, VDARE and their fellow travelers endeavored and, at times, succeeded at creating space for white nationalist and nativist messages within mainstream conservative spaces.
In a speech that somewhat foreshadowed Trump’s appeal to the extreme right in 2016, Coulter addressed “right-wingers” directly in her speech from the mainstage at CPAC 2012.
“Right-wingers have triumphed over the Republican Party,” Coulter proclaimed. “There are no more Rockefeller Republicans running anymore. In 2008, just four years ago, one of our candidates was pro-choice; one was against Clinton’s impeachment; one voted against the Bush tax cuts, wanted to shut down Guantanamo, called waterboarding torture, wanted amnesty for illegals, and that was the one we ran! We’ve won!”
Coulter followed by praising Mitt Romney, then a candidate for president, for having “the strongest position on illegal immigration,” continuing, “I must tell you, right-wingers, after Obamacare, the single most important issue is illegal immigration. If we lose that, the entire country goes the way of California, where no Republican will ever get elected.”
Coulter’s penchant for blending marquee conservative issues, like the Affordable Care Act, with fearmongering and apocalyptic prophesizing related to the presence of immigrants in our country echoes arguments in Brimelow’s Alien Nation that would be road-tested further on VDARE. More broadly, her quote exemplifies how VDARE and its affiliates has interwoven appeals to mainstream conservatives and far-right extremists alike, by forever mixing the ammonia and bleach of repressive rightwing populism that is white nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment within and beyond the halls of the GOP.
VDARE’s work has been featured and promoted by more mainstream anti-immigrant hate groups, including ones with ties to the Trump administration, as well. A Hatewatch investigation from 2017 found that the Center for Immigration Studies had linked to VDARE content over 1,700 times, based on a review of CIS newsletters dating back to 2007. A later investigation, published in March 2020, found that CIS has circulated the work of some of VDARE’s staffers whose affiliations with the white nationalist movement were far from veiled – namely Kevin DeAnna.
VDARE has also maintained connections to state-level anti-immigrant groups such as the Washington, D.C.-based organization Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR). Specifically, PFIR’s Joe Guzzardi has published approximately 760 blogs on VDARE’s website. PFIR has connections to the anti-immigrant hate ecosystem through its relationship with the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Colcom Foundation, a longstanding source of funding for anti-immigrant hate groups including CIS, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute. According to publicly available documents, PFIR received $664,000 in grants from the Colcom Foundation.
VDARE’s proximity to the Trump administration
In December 2020, Hatewatch reported that DeAnna sought resumes to fill White House administration jobs mere days after Trump’s 2016 electoral win. In an email sent to former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh, who has since renounced past affiliations with the white nationalist movement, DeAnna claimed he was doing so at the behest of Ann Coulter. In a message with the subject line “Administration jobs,” DeAnna wrote on Nov. 10, 2016: “Ann Coulter asked if you want to get a job in the Administration. She wants names.”
McHugh or the other extremists she forwarded DeAnna’s call for resumes to ultimately didn’t receive positions in the administration. But DeAnna and Coulter, who was an enthusiastic Trump supporter throughout the 2016 campaign, were far from the only VDARE affiliates with apparent ties to the administration.
Stephen Miller, the Trump administration’s former senior advisor for policy, invited Brimelow to speak at Duke University in 2007 while an undergraduate. According to a trove of emails provided by McHugh to Hatewatch in November 2019, Miller also forwarded a link to a post from VDARE’s website to McHugh, then at Breitbart, in 2015 while he was an aide in then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ office. Other emails from McHugh revealed that Julia Hahn, who worked with McHugh at Breitbart and subsequently took a job in the administration as special assistant to Trump, was connected to Brimelow as well, at one point casually referring to him by his first name, Peter. Finally, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, invited Brimelow to his home for a birthday party during his tenure in the administration. When questioned by The Washington Post for Brimelow’s propensity to publish white nationalist propaganda, Kudlow claimed he was unaware of Brimelow’s views.
Hahn, Kudlow and Miller retained their positions in the White House after their ties to the hate group were revealed. However, Darren Beattie, a former Trump speechwriter, was terminated from his position in the administration in August 2018, following a CNN report documenting that he had spoken alongside Brimelow and others at an H.L. Mencken Club conference in November 2016. The panel, titled “The Right and Its Enemies,” featured Brimelow and Ilana Mercer, a South African-born far-right writer whose columns have been occasionally republished at VDARE.