Charlottesville White Supremacist Exploits Tragedy to Mount Senate Run in Florida


Augustus Sol Invictus (who used to go by the far less regal name Austin Gillespie) is trying to capitalize on an innocent woman's death to gain fame for himself and mount a run for U.S. Senate.

A vile snake from the Orlando area who believes in Nazi-style eugenics, Invictus was an organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville who watched one of his followers murder a woman. He then used that event to announce a Senate campaign in Florida three days later. He is objectively one of the worst creatures in a state crammed with horrible people.

Invictus was one of the top-billed speakers at the Unite the Right rally, which is somewhat odd because he gives speeches in a slurred, fake-seeming accent that sounds roughly like John F. Kennedy on acid. (More on his accent in a bit.)

Invictus was previously known to Floridians for his failed 2016 campaign to take Marco Rubio's Senate seat. He ran on the Libertarian ticket but was too much of an obvious fool to win even the Florida Libertarian primary. He now thinks he can snag the 2018 Republican nomination for Senate in Florida, which will be nearly impossible no matter who else runs. The presumed candidate is Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who will crush him.

That hasn't stopped Invictus from trying to use one of the most prominent white-nationalist terror attacks in U.S. history for personal gain. Three days after a white nationalist killed 32-year-old civil rights activist Heather Heyer by blatantly ramming a car into a group of protesters, Invictus traveled to Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's office in Washington, D.C., to feed on the negative press like a vulture. Instead of offering condolences, Invictus has blamed leftist protesters for somehow agitating the driver into plowing through the crowd. And on August 15, he spoke in Nelson's office while the shameless Trump-supporting journalist Cassandra Fairbanks (who is suing Splinter journalist Emma Roller for what looks to be frivolous nonsense) filmed him on Periscope. Invictus then uploaded a formal clip of his announcement to YouTube Friday.

In the clip, he blames the "left" for attacking him, allegedly trying to assassinate him (though we doubt anyone finds him that important), and provoking violence at his rallies across the country. There was no mention of his actual, concrete policy proposals, which are heinous, cruel, and childishly stupid. He doubled down on blaming the "left" for the terror attack in Charlottesville and offered neither an apology for what happened nor condolences to Heyer's family.
"It is therefore unlikely that anyone could have been surprised at the events in Charlottesville this weekend," he says in the video. "The left has been physically attacking patriot gatherings, free-speech rallies, and protests of the destruction of our heritage in the South."

These are common talking points that white nationalists use to gloss over what they actually believe. During his 2016 Libertarian run, Invictus repeatedly referred to himself as an "American fascist" who supports the sort of eugenics programs that inspired the Nazis in the leadup to World War II. Many Americans supported these kinds of programs in the decades preceding the war — Invictus said in 2016 he was upset the nation had abandoned its march toward exterminating people it deemed unfit for society.

According to a treatise Invictus wrote, titled "A Declaration of the Failings of the U.S. Government," the nation has since been governed by a "decadent ideology that rejects the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, the least intelligent, and the most diseased."

Invictus denies he's a white nationalist, but that seems like bullshit. His views were so abhorrent the chair of the Florida Libertarian Party resigned to protest Invictus' candidacy.
Shamefully, multiple news outlets gave the bespoke-suited Invictus the "Richard Spencer" treatment last year, writing profiles about Invictus that largely glossed over his Nazi-like views to instead focus on the time Invictus admittedly killed a goat and drank its blood in a ritual sacrifice. (For what it's worth, the incident was apparently so appalling that it got him kicked out of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a pagan cult previously led by Aleister Crowley.)

Focusing solely on the goat-drinking bit does the public a disservice: Invictus has 15,000 Twitter followers and was prominent enough to earn top billing alongside noted white nationalists Spencer, Christopher Cantwell, and Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet.

Invictus has claimed on Twitter that the rally had nothing to do with Nazis, but anyone with a middle-school understanding of the Third Reich can see how obvious a lie that was just from the event's posters. The people lining up to hear Invictus speak weren't there to talk the finer-points of goat-slaughter:
It's interesting that Invictus has any sort of following given how marble-mouthed and uncharismatic he is. He looks like a weasel onstage and appears to put on a fake accent to make himself sound like anything but a moron from rural Florida.

Listen to how Invictus speaks here, seemingly off-the-cuff:

Compare his voice in that clip with the speech he gave below in 2015 calling for his followers to literally revolt against the U.S. government. What in hell is he doing? He previously told Vice that the voice he uses during speeches is his real voice and that he speaks in a toned-down version off-the-cuff, but that seems like an obvious lie:

To get a sense of how easily the more mainstream wings of the conservative media feed folks like Invictus and allow him to thrive, simply glance at his Twitter feed since Charlottesville: On Saturday, Invictus shared an article from the website of former Florida Congressman Allen West, which claimed the Charlottesville terror attack was a false flag staged by leftists. (Invictus is also extremely happy with the president's comments about the rally.)
It's somewhat remarkable that Invictus seems to have the support of someone like the aforementioned Cassandra Fairbanks, a hard-right Trump supporter famous for suing journalists, hanging out with Twitter weirdo Mike Cernovich, and partying with Milo Yiannopoulos. Scott is already deeply aligned with Trump, and it would not have taken Fairbanks much effort to throw what little influence she has toward Florida's governor. But even an unapologetic asshole like Scott might not be openly white-nationalist enough for the millennial "new right" that Fairbanks represents. As Splinter's Alex Pareene expertly noted over the weekend, millennial interest in the GOP is waning, and the only concept that seems to unite young conservatives anymore is overt racism. We ought to ridicule a fool like Invictus now, because if we don't, in ten years the Florida Republican Party might begin to look a heck of a lot more like him.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.