A former outreach director for the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA was forced to apologize for using several racist slurs in a recently uncovered document, the latest racist incident to plague the pro-Trump youth group.
Kyle Kashuv, who rose to prominence as one of the few staunchly pro-Second Amendment survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, apologized Wednesday night after a Google Doc began circulating which showed Kashuv repeatedly using racist language, referring to black athletes as “n*****jocks” and saying “im really good at typing n***** ok like practice uhhhhhh makes perfect.”
“We were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,” Kashuv posted on Twitter. “I’m embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I’ve become in the years since.”
Kashuv added that the Parkland shooting flipped his life upside down and said he was embarrassed by the “petty, flippant kid represented in those screenshots.”
Kashuv — who announced that he was leaving TPUSA last week prior to attending Harvard University in the fall — never explicitly acknowledged what he was apologizing for, a point conservative youth activist CJ Pearson noted Wednesday night. “This isn’t a statement that takes responsibility for the words you used,” Pearson tweeted. “Being 16 isn’t an excuse to refer to black athletes as “n*****jocks.”
The incident is the latest to scandal to rock the conservative youth organization. Last week, TPUSA was forced to oust the leader of their University of Nevada, Las Vegas chapter after a video emerged of him saying “white power” while a friend stated, “We’re going to rule this country, fuck the n*****s.” TPUSA described the video as “abhorrent, un-American, and disqualifying.”
In December 2017, The New Yorker reported that the group “fostered an atmosphere that is hostile to minorities” during its annual summit in West Palm Beach. Little less than a year later, in October 2018, leaked chat logs from TPUSA’s chapter at Florida International University showed the group regularly sent each other racist and anti-Semitic memes. And in March this year, leaked chat logs from the far-right group Identity Evropa showcased their plans to attempt to infiltrate TPUSA in order to get more recruits.
“Pro-Tip,” one Identity Evropa member wrote. “Turn your local Turning Point USA chapter to a de-facto IE [Identity Evropa] chapter.”
TPUSA’s flirtation with the far-right can also be seen in its upper echelons. In February, TPUSA’s then-communications director Candace Owens stirred controversy, stating during an event promoting the launch of Turning Points U.K. that Hitler’s nationalism was “OK.”
“[Hitler] was a national socialist but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine,” Owens said. “The problem is, he had dreams outside of Germany.”
Earlier in May, Owens announced she was leaving TPUSA to pursue her #BLEXIT movement, which aims to convince black Americans to leave the Democratic Party. The same month, Brandon Tatum, who served as TPUSA’s director of urban engagement, also announced that he would be departing the group. On May 13, Anna Paulina, who served as TPUSA’s director of Hispanic engagement, also said that she would be moving on.