A connected tea party activist says white nationalism has nothing to do with race supremacy — it’s just part of Trump’s “America First” vision.
At the Texas Republican Party’s 2018 convention, Ray Myers was a part of a select group of activists charged with crafting the platform for the biggest and most influential state party in the country. Myers is also a white nationalist, a fact that he declared last week. “Damn Right, I’m a WHITE NATIONALIST and very Proud of it,” Myers wrote in a Facebook post last Tuesday.
Myers is a 74-year-old activist who has been involved in GOP politics for decades. But “the pivotal political moment came when Obama came on the scene. I knew immediately that America was in trouble,” he said in an Empower Texans profile. Soon after, he founded a tea party chapter in Kaufman County, just east of Dallas. More recently, Myers was a member of Ted Cruz’s “Texas Leadership Team” during his presidential campaign, served as a Cruz delegate at the RNC convention and went on to become a Trump volunteer, according to his Facebook profile.
Reached by phone on Friday, Myers insisted that he saw nothing wrong with labeling himself a white nationalist. “I am Anglo and I’m very proud of it, just like black people and brown people are proud of their race. I am a patriot. I am very proud of my country,” Myers said. “And white nationalist, all that means is America first. That’s exactly what that means. That’s where the president’s at. That’s where I’m at and that’s where every solid patriotic American is. It doesn’t have anything to do with race or anything else.”
Myers told the Observer that he agrees with Trump’s claim that the media “is the enemy of the people,” and said the left is pushing a narrative to make white people ashamed of their heritage and to cast nationalists as racist right-wing Nazis, which he insisted “is the furthest damn thing from the truth ever.”
“We’re just patriotic Americans, just like anybody else. I’m a tea party guy and I’ve got brown and black and American Indians in our tea parties,” he said.
Did he really not see a problem with embracing the “white nationalist” label, I asked. “Is there anything wrong with saying they’re black and proud? Is there anything wrong with being an American Indian and saying that we’re red and proud?” Myers responded. “I mean, just like Black Lives Matter, white lives matter, too. We’re all in the same melting pot. Now why can’t we say, as Anglos, that we’re proud?”
In June, Myers helped to draft the Texas GOP’s platform, a document that frequently draws attention for pushing the limits of mainstream conservatism.
The 2018 platform includes numerous planks that espouse a nationalistic view, including a demand for using “English, and only English” voting ballots; “the reasonable use of profiling” to defeat radical Islamic terrorists; a condemnation of participation in the United Nations as a threat to U.S. sovereignty; an abolition of the refugee resettlement program; the prohibition of any sort of immigration amnesty; a constitutional amendment defining citizenship “as those born to a citizen of the United States or through naturalization,” among many others.
In addition to his position on the platform committee, Myers’ Facebook profile features photos of him posing with a who’s who of the Texas Republican Party, including Senator Ted Cruz and his father Rafael, Attorney General Ken Paxton, state Senator Bob Hall and Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey.
Myers was a vocal supporter of Dickey during his contested re-election bid at the party convention in San Antonio. Myers was also the lone vote on the GOP platform committee to vote in favor of censuring John Cornyn, Texas’ senior U.S. senator.
Myers was also part of an effort from the party’s right wing in 2010 to replace House Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish, sending out an email about to his tea party group announcing that “we finally found a Christian Conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs.”
His latest comments come as the Texas GOP saw political consequences for its embrace of extremism. The party’s control eroded in the suburbs, losing 14 seats in the Texas Legislature, including a handful of incumbents or candidates affiliated with the party’s right-wing faction. Nearby Tarrant County, the most populous red county in the country, narrowly flipped to Beto O’Rourke.
Now, some in the Tarrant GOP are trying to purge the party of perceived heretics, including a Muslim doctor and a precinct chair who is married to a Muslim. Over the weekend, the state party’s executive committee unanimously passed a “non-discrimination” resolution that affirmed its support of religious liberty within the party, though the resolution made no mention of the attempted purge in Tarrant County.
In response to a request for comment, a Texas GOP spokesperson referred the Observer to Dickey’s statement regarding the “non-discrimination” resolution, in which he declared that “racism and bigotry is not what the Republican Party of Texas stands for.” The spokesperson did not refer to Myers.
J.T. Edwards, an African-American member of the State Republican Executive Committee from Senate District 11, who spoke out against the attempted purge in Tarrant County, condemned Myers’ comments, though he doesn’t see those views as indicative of any broader racist sentiments within the party.
“To have so-called white nationalists in our party is basically an abomination of the very foundations of the Republican Party,” said Edwards. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Mr. Myers’s position is part of the problem.”