During a Wednesday morning appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Jacob Scott shed light on how his white nationalist uncle, Peter Tefft, became radicalized.
Tefft was identified as a marcher in the weekend’s violent alt-right demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, early on and was publicly disavowed by his family in a letter to the newspaper in Fargo, North Dakota.
“I wanted to talk about how we think that he was radicalized online,” Scott told anchor Chris Cuomo.
Scott continued, “Back in 2008, 2009, he was like pretty much anybody else in the family: He was a feminist, he was a progressive, he was a vegetarian. But around the time of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign back in 2012, he started spending a lot of time on these sort of fringe Internet spaces like 4chan and getting all of his news from like, Infowars, and other places like that.”
It all happened “behind our backs,” Scott said. The family didn’t notice anything was going on until Tefft showed up to a family gathering “ranting about the Jews” and identifying himself as a fascist, the nephew said.
Tefft elaborated on his feelings about fascism to CNN affiliate WDAY earlier in the week, saying, “I think fascism is just loving your family and doing what’s best for your nation.” He said he is not a racist. He told WDA that disavowing him was the “safest thing” his family could do “in this political climate.”
Scott told Cuomo: “I feel that as a society, we need to be talking about this phenomenon of young, white, asocial men who are going into these Internet spaces and they are becoming radicalized, often without their family’s knowledge.”
“It bears, frankly, a scary resemblance to the recruiting tactics of terrorist groups like ISIL,” Scott concluded.
CNN has tried to reach Tefft several times without success.
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