Right-wing speakers, activists and politicians convened in St. Louis on September 14-16 for the 47th annual “Eagle Council.”
The annual confab was put on by a group founded by arch-paleoconservative and anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly. The St. Louis gathering was co-organized by Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagles and the far-right conspiracy theory website, The Gateway Pundit. Following Schlafly’s death in 2016, her group, originally called Eagle Forum, splintered into two. The most ardently pro-Donald Trump faction formed Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagles. Last weekend’s event should not be confused with the annual Eagle Council of the other group, which still retains the Eagle Forum name, scheduled for later this month in Washington, D.C.
While Schlafly may be gone, her legacy of anti-LGBT and anti-feminist activism, as well as her fear of immigrants and penchant for promoting conspiracy theories, lived on during the St. Louis Eagle Council. The event featured breakout sessions on topics such as “The fraud of transgenderism” and “How feminism is failing men, women — and the country.” The conference also welcomed extreme figures, some whom have been involved in the racist “alt-right” universe.
On Friday night, attendees were treated to an exclusive screening of “Hoaxed,” the latest film by male supremacist and rape apologist Mike Cernovich. Cernovich’s project argues that the mainstream media — not his Pizzagate-promoting conspiracy theory cohorts — are the real fake news. Prior to the screening, Cernovich participated in a panel discussion featuring Canadian alt-right personality and vlogger Stefan Molyneux and Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit’s founder. During the session, Cernovich discussed how Trump brought him into politics. He also bragged about his role in getting director James Gunn fired and said he aspired to recruit “Christian moms” to his troll army.
Molyneux shared a similar story of being inspired by Trump’s presidential run. He said, “You know, the demographics are changing, and immigration, and you know, everyone in America panicked,” and, he said, they voted for Trump in hope that “he solves all the problems.” However, he warned Trump’s election was a “dead cat bounce” at best and that Western civilization remains under threat.
Molyneux appeared on other panels throughout the conference. One of which, titled “The People’s media won’t be stopped,” was moderated by anti-Muslim firebrand Pamela Geller and also featured Hoft and far-right Twitter troll Jack Posobiec. Geller served less as a moderator and instead used the panel as her own personal platform.
She complained her work has supposedly been “completely scrubbed from Google search.” Geller also claimed social media companies are now enforcing Sharia blasphemy laws, lamenting that “Twitter shadow bans me, YouTube deleted me.” In a diatribe about liberals allegedly having control of the public education system, she said: “We have failed our children. Keep them out of public schools.” That comment was well-received by the pro-home schooling Eagle Forum crowd.
Right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe was also featured at the event. O’Keefe — known for his brand of “journalism” that includes secretly recording his subjects — has become a regular on the right-wing speaking circuit. During the event, he discussed his latest project: unmasking the so-called “deep state” in Washington, D.C. O’Keefe showed a quick teaser for a series of videos that will supposedly expose these government officials. “We're gonna search for every rotten, crooked, no-good deep state federal official, we're going to release them one at a time,” he said to applause. “We're going to unmask you.”
Per usual, various right-wing political figures and personalities were honored during the event. During the luncheon on September 15, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a longtime ally of Eagle Forum, was presented with the “Phyllis Schlafly Award for Excellence in Leadership.” A couple days prior to the conference, King was the subject of controversy for once again retweeting a prominent white nationalist. King’s racial and cultural anxieties, however, were embraced by conference leadership. When introducing King, Phyllis’ son John Schlafly cited a 2017 tweet from the Iowa congressman that stated, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
The quote set the tone for King, who during his speech spouted rhetoric that was very much in line with white nationalist thinking. While addressing what he called the “immigration question,” he warned, “Whenever you import a person from another country or culture, even one person, you’re importing the culture as well.”
King claimed that even with assimilation efforts, immigration “always changes the recipient country.” He continued, “We want to resist that because we love our country, we love the culture we are, and we want people that embrace the American civilization, the American culture.” To illustrate his point, he outlined a hypothetical scenario where Japan and Mexico trade countries. Trying to prove culture, not geographic region, defines a people, he claimed the Japanese “would bring their technology and their science and their work ethic,” while Mexicans “would bring their crime rate.”
He warned, “When you import young men from a country like that, that are 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, you’re importing the most violent demographic from any civilization.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) was also recognized at the conference, as were two far-right European politicians. Dominik Tarczynski of the Polish Law and Justice party and Petr Bystron of Alternative for Germany were presented with Eagle awards.
Another award recipient at the event was Charlie Kirk, founder and president of the conservative student group Turning Point USA. Kirk was presented with the group’s Eagle Award. In early September, Kirk spoke at the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America’s national conference, and his group has come under fire for white nationalist rhetoric among its ranks.
The conference wrapped up with a luncheon featuring former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who put the final touches on the conspiracy theory-laden weekend. Arpaio used his time to revive the racist birther conspiracy theory about former President Barack Obama, calling his birth certificate a “fake government document.”