The family of a North Dakota white nationalist who travelled to Charlottesville, Va. for a white supremacist rally has publicly denounced their son, saying he’s no longer welcome at home.
In an open letter published in a Fargo newspaper, Pearce Tefft said his youngest son, Peter, “is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer.”
“I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast,” Tefft wrote.
On Friday, a large group of white supremacists and members of the so-called Alt-Right marched through the University of Virginia campus, with Tiki torches in hand, to the school’s statue of founding father Thomas Jefferson, where they were met by a much smaller group of student counter-protesters, who were eventually surrounded.
Punches were thrown and several people had to be treated for minor injuries, with police eventually breaking up the skirmish and arresting at least one person. The march was a lead-up to the planned “Unite the Right” rally, a protest against the impending removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, the latest in a growing and controversial movement to take down Confederate statues and monuments in various U.S. cities.
Speaking with Fargo’s Valley News Live, Peter called the weekend rally is the “beginning of a new civil rights era and this time it’s going to be a pro-white one.”
“You had constitutionalists, you had basic Republicans, you had national socialists and you had white and southern identitarians and we’re all being thrown in the same boat by the media and that’s why we need to stand together,” the white nationalist said.
He went on to tell Valley News Live his views are not hateful.
“I guess I would ask how anybody sees advocating for civil rights as hate speech?” Peter said. “As far as the term white supremacist goes, in my view, anybody that thinks white people don’t need advocacy they’re the white supremacist.”
The man refused to comment on his father’s open letter referring to it as “harassment.”
In the letter, Tefft said he isn’t sure where his son learned his “hateful opinions.”
His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home. We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview,” the father wrote. “He once joked, ‘The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven.’
“Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. Please, son, renounce the hate, accept and love all,” Tefft wrote, closing out the letter.