Building a political network around imitators of Holocaust-denying white supremacist Nick Fuentes has its challenges. Ask the Bull Moose Project, a Generation Z populist nonprofit which has shuttered its “American Virtue” subsidiary hardly a year after launch.
As you read this, remember that The Heritage Foundation and Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) partner “American Moment” cosponsored a Bull Moose Project event this spring. Heritage Foundation has not apologized for funding the Bull Moose Project or indicated whether it plans to do so again. The tax-exempt 501(c)(3) Bull Moose Project Foundation – run by the same Gen Z populists as the 501(c)(4) Bull Moose Project – lists CPI headquarters as its address.
Before becoming a program of the Bull Moose Project’s 501(c)(3) arm mid-2022, American Virtue was a separate group that called itself the American Populist Union (APU). Here’s how a contributor to white supremacist blog Counter-Currents summarized APU’s July 2021 American Populist Summit:
Monday, July 19, APU had their big event, and I was able to catch most of it. It was very Fuentes-esque in both style and substance. If you approve of Nick Fuentes, you would probably approve of the APU’s summit for the same reasons. If you don’t like Nick Fuentes, you probably won’t like APU for the same reasons.Travis LeBlanc, “Multiracial White Nationalism?” 7/21/2021, Counter-Currents
In a post published to his “DC Perspective” Substack site 11 days before the event, American Populist Summit speaker & APU leader David Carlson used the Nazi slogan “our blood and soil” in the course of arguing that “our race” was one of the things that made America great:
I am patriotic and celebrate America because of what it was and might be again one day far from now. Our faith, language, culture, traditions, race, works of art. In short our blood and soil is what produced America the America that is no longer here, yet I celebrate nonetheless.
We can try to create our own tradition, art, and culture, but that will be crushed beneath the weight of the ghey America.
The ghey America which spies on TV cable hosts, arrests innocent citizens, puts gay and black pride flags up at our embassies, the ghey America which celebrates black independence day, lies to us, and forces us into death.
I hate my country, that is what makes me a patriot. America is dead, long live America.David Carlson, “A Different Patriotism,” 7/8/2021, Substack.com
The 2021 APU event was headlined by John Doyle, who cohosted a “Stop the Steal” rally with Nick Fuentes the previous November:
After APU merged with the Bull Moose Project, Doyle remained a regular contributor. A large portion of the content on American Virtue’s YouTube channel is original videos from Doyle, highlights from Doyle’s YouTube channel (which has 350,000 subscribers), and clips from Doyle’s appearances on Blaze TV:
Doyle posts the sort of things on social media you might expect from a guy who led a rally with Nick Fuentes:
Joining Doyle in endorsing a September 2023 campaign to ban the Anti-Defamation League from Twitter (to quote Doyle, the ADL is run by “Jews retard google it”) was Gabe Guidarini, a former APU & Bull Moose Project staffer who now works for Turning Point Action and College Republicans splinter group College Republicans of America:
In a Medium post the month after APU’s 2021 summit, Guidarini described National Conservatism thusly:
Many of this faction’s planks trace back to Pat Buchanan’s presidential candidacies in the 90’s. Buchanan pioneered the paleoconservative themes of non-interventionism coupled with reactionary social policy and legal immigration restriction proposals. In 2015, Trump’s presidential candidacy in many ways revived this ideology, and helped to bring it into the limelight. Today, Fox News host Tucker Carlson is the most mainstream promoter of this ideology with 3 million nightly viewers. Individual National Conservative figures range from DC policy wonks like Oren Cass, to hardline activists like Nick Fuentes.
Places of instututional support for this faction include the Claremont Institute, American Moment, American Populist Union, and the America First Foundation.Gabe Guidarini, “The Four Factions of the Republican Party,” 8/28/2021, Medium.com
The America First Foundation is run by Nick Fuentes.
When Bull Moose Project endorsee Joe Kent disavowed Fuentes in March 2022, David Carlson browbeat Kent in an APU livestream:
Between repeated defenses of “Nick,” Carlson rolled his eyes at Kent’s answers, badgering the congressional candidate on behalf of Fuentes fans in the livestream’s chat. Carlson asked Kent to explain what he meant by the phrase “Judeo-Christian,” accused him of bowing to the Anti-Defamation League, and griped about the power of the “Israel lobby.”
“Someone asked, ‘What does Israel have to do with the state you are running in – running for?’ I mean, you disavowed Nick cause they’re our greatest ally and you don’t like his rhetoric about it – you don’t know his specific policy when it comes to Israel,” Carlson told Kent.
Weeks after the Kent interview, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) backed out of an APU event, having taken heat from the media for sending a recorded speech to a Fuentes conference. The story drew national attention to APU’s similarity to Fuentes and his America First Foundation.
Carlson emceed APU’s final event, a “New York Populist Summit” cohosted by the New York Young Republican Club (NYYRC), in May 2022. At the New York Populist Summit, NYYRC president Gavin Wax said:
We need to realize, like the Left does, that all that matters is winning. And however you get there – if you have to be hypocrites, if you have to be ruthless, if you have to be Machiavellian, it doesn’t matter, because if you get what you want, you’re the ones that write history.Gavin Wax, American Populist Union “New York Populist Summit,” May 2022
This August, I tagged Wax — who addressed APU’s 2021 American Populist Summit in a pre-recorded video message, and was formerly a “Senior Advisor” to the Bull Moose Project — with screenshots of Carlson’s “blood and soil” screed. Wax replied, “What did he say that was wrong you chud,” and then, “He said nothing wrong[.]”
Within two months of the New York Populist Summit, APU had merged with the Bull Moose Project and changed its name. Carlson became the Bull Moose Project’s operations director, and director of the new “American Virtue.”
A sampling of stuff David Carlson posted on his personal Twitter account while serving as one of the Bull Moose Project’s three executives:
Bull Moose Project’s first American Virtue event was a July 2022 “State of the Movement.” The event slate included Carlson, Wax, and several of APU’s Gen Z “content creators.”
Anthony Sabatini, a Bull Moose Project-endorsed Florida congressional candidate who spoke via video to APU’s American Populist Summit a year earlier, received top billing at American Virtue’s State of the Movement.
In his speech, Sabatini savaged “neocons” and specifically Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), bellowing, “Dan Crenshaw, you suck! The single most important policy decision the republic can make is deporting Dan Crenshaw from the United States of America. Dan, you are truly Eyepatch McCain!”
Bull Moose Project executives liked this portion of Sabatini’s speech so much, they posted it as a short video on American Virtue’s YouTube channel:
Unhinged ranting is typical from Sabatini, who was a “Special Guest” at Bull Moose Project’s 2021 “Night to Save New York,” where Bull Moose Project leader Aiden Buzzetti solicited donations for his campaign. After Sabatini lost his primary by 14 points, Bull Moose Project made him a speaker at their April 2023 “Bull Moose Leadership Summit.”
The Bull Moose Leadership Summit was sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, which sent two staffers to speak. Pedro Gonzalez, an internet-famous populist who was outed as an anti-Semite not long after the Bull Moose Project event, was on a tech policy panel with Heritage staffer Jake Denton – and moderated an immigration policy session where Heritage staffer Mike Howell was a panelist:
As noted above, Heritage has not publicly distanced itself from the Bull Moose Project in any way since sponsoring the Bull Moose Leadership Summit this April. The event was held in CPI’s offices.
Update, 11/8/2023: Applauding a Politico puff piece about Bull Moose Leadership Summit sponsor American Moment, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts and CPI Chairman Jim DeMint both effusively praised the populist nonprofit. American Moment president Saurabh Sharma and board member Ryan Girdusky spoke at the Bull Moose Leadership Summit and at Bull Moose Project’s “Night to Save New York.”
Another APU contributor who remained a regular content creator for the Bull Moose Project’s now-defunct “American Virtue” was Carson Wolf, who got his start in politics as a Fuentes fanboy:
Yet another APU content creator whose videos were published by the Bull Moose Project’s “American Virtue” was Charles Svestka. Svestka responded to Palestinian terrorists’ mass murder of Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023 by repeating his frequent suggestion that a papal army should conquer Jerusalem for the Roman Catholic Church:
Svestka and Wolf were both “Special Guests” at the American Virtue State of the Movement event in 2022. Both have written for The American Postliberal, an outlet Notre Dame professor and leading Roman Catholic integralist scholar Patrick Deneen promoted three times within a month of its launch this summer.
The American Postliberal is run by Mike Ippolito – a friend of John Doyle who wrote three video scripts for American Virtue:
After I called attention to Svestka and Wolf’s past comments about Fuentes and Israel, The American Postliberal surreptitiously deleted all of their contributions. Archived for posterity:
- Charles Svestka’s “Family Policy, American Style,” published 6/13/2023: https://archive.ph/cuCkV
- Charles Svestka’s “McCarthyism 2.0,” published 8/3/2023: https://archive.ph/0ve1l
- Charles Svestka’s “The Great Catholic Communicator,” published 8/31/2023: https://archive.ph/CviYJ
- Carson Wolf’s “American Spiritual War,” published 9/5/2023: https://archive.ph/vKYo1
- Charles Svestka’s “Happy Michaelmas!” published 9/29/2023: https://archive.ph/qtmLd
Even without the ties to Fuentes and Fuentes knockoffs the Bull Moose Project hopes to sweep under the rug by cancelling American Virtue, the “conservative” group’s ideology is anything but:
As recently as July, Carlson and Bull Moose Project President Aiden Buzzetti were gathering signatures for the “No Big Tech Money” campaign (regarding which Buzzetti was quoted in The Washington Post). Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) has promoted the Bull Moose Project multiple times, even recommending Bull Moose Project for a federal artificial intelligence commission:
I publicized Carlson’s use of the Nazi “blood and soil” slogan in August. Inside of two weeks, all of American Virtue’s social media channels were radio silent; the program of the Bull Moose Project’s 501(c)(3) arm announced last week that “it’s time we closed up shop,” because “our original participants have moved on to bigger and better projects.”
If leaders and fellow-travelers of the Bull Moose Project are the Generation Z “influencers” The Heritage Foundation and Conservative Partnership Institute believe they should support, what does that say about Heritage & CPI’s vision for the future of the conservative movement?