James Allsup, the Washington State University College Republicans' president who attended the white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, has resigned from his position.
Allsup was shown on social media marching among a crowd of men carrying tiki torches during the rally. The event — held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — attracted white supremacists, some of whom held Nazi flags. The planned rally was shut down amid clashes between white nationalists, neo-Nazis and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. A 32-year-old woman died and 19 people were injured when a man affiliated with the white nationalists rammed his car into a group protesting the event.
Allsup's presence at the rally sparked backlash among the WSU community, and among national College Republicans. Earlier today, the College Republican National Committee chairman released a statement condemning the terrorism and white supremacy shown in Charlottesville. The statement called on "leaders in our organization who may support or condone these events to resign immediately."
Shortly after, Allsup tweeted that he would "expedite the pres. transition process," which he said was already in the works.
"This has been planned since before the #UniteTheRight but the club's VP has effectively assumed the presidency," he wrote.
Allsup has not responded to the Inlander
attempts to reach him for comment on Monday. KREM reports
that WSU College Republicans Vice President Amir Rezamand has taken over duties as president.
Allsup told KREM yesterday
that the Twitter account, "Yes, You are Racist," which identified Allsup at the rally, had "no proof" that he was racist. He said he disagreed with the violence and the swastikas seen at the rally. He told KREM he went "in a media capacity," and claimed that the rally organizer unexpectedly asked him to make remarks. That would conflict with an apparent screenshot circulating on social media of him on Facebook announcing his plans to speak at the rally, though the screenshot has not been verified.
On Twitter, Allsup has defended his presence at the rally.
"The truth is that a handful (fewer than 30) Nazi flag-waving morons totally hijacked the narrative from 1200+ others not w/ them," Allsup wrote, adding "I talked to dozens of rally attendees that were uncomfortable and put off by the Nazi imagery. Myself included. Very, very bad look."
Allsup organized the erection of a controversial "Trump Wall"
on Washington State University's campus last fall. Weeks before the wall went up, a WSU student discovered the N-word
written in the library on campus. The student who found the graffiti suggested that allowing the Trump Wall event elevated racism on campus. Allsup told the Inlander
at the time that he disavowed the vandalism, but "I also believe that accusations of racism, Nazism, and bigotry have no place in the political discourse and would call on our political opponents to choose their words carefully." He then said that the writing of the N-word "appears to be feminine," and different from the writing below it that read "Trump 2016."
Allsup raised funds to bring "alt-right" provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos
to WSU, though Yiannopoulos wasn't able to make it to the event. In January, Allsup, a Trump supporter, reported being struck in the head
by a protester during an inauguration celebration in Washington D.C.
While Allsup defends his participation in Charlottesville, he says WSU College Republicans were not involved and should not be held accountable.