Tom Tancredo has built his career on nativism, even centering his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for president on a virulently anti-immigrant platform. That was hardly his first foray into political world of organized nativism.
Tom Tancredo represented the 6th Congressional district of Colorado from 1999 to 2009. He ran for the GOP nomination for president in 2008, and in 2010 he was the Constitution Party’s unsuccessful nominee for Governor of Colorado.
After being elected to U.S. Congress in 1999, Tancredo founded the House Immigration Reform Caucus (HIRC). The caucus’ purpose was — and still is — the blocking of integrative immigration bills and the advancing of anti-immigrant policy. It has functioned to import the bigotry of the organized anti-immigrant movement directly into the US Congress.
While he was in Congress, Tancredo made no attempt to hide his connections to such groups. Tancredo has maintained close ties with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), attending and speaking at their events. FAIR also works closely with HIRC members. Tancredo has even received financial support from FAIR’s white nationalist founder John Tanton. In addition, he allowed Rosemary Jenks of the anti-immigrant lobbying organization NumbersUSA (a sister group of FAIR) to work directly out of his office.
Tancredo also served as the co-chair of the Team America-PAC, which raises money to “help elect public office individuals who are committed to enforcing our laws and securing our borders.”
Beyond his stridently bigoted views, Tancredo has a flair for the hyperbolic and crass. In a 2010 Washington Times op-ed, he called for the impeachment of President Obama on the grounds that undocumented immigrants were not being rounded up en masse for deportation. He went as far as to claim that President Obama was “a more serious threat than al Quaeda” to our country. Upon Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Tancredo publicly labeled her an anti-white racist due to her connection to the advocacy organization the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). He dubbed NCLR the “Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”
In truth, Tancredo is the one who has aligned himself closely with those whose views closely align with the Ku Klux Klan.
In 2006, he participated in a fundraiser for the group Americans Have Had Enough (AHHD), which was also promoted by the South Carolina chapter of the neo-confederate hate group The League of the South. At the event, he spoke from a podium that was draped in a confederate battle flag. AHHD is run by a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that has described Blacks and African Americans as a “retrograde species of humanity.”
Tancredo has also contributed to the virulently white nationalist and anti-immigrant website VDARE.com, and he was the 2012 keynote speaker at the Social Contract Press’ annual writer’s workshop. That press is run by John Tanton. Tancredo was also the honorary chairman of the white nationalist student network Youth for Western Civilization, which counts among its members such outspoken white supremacists as Matthew Heimbach and Devin Saucier.
Again running on an anti-immigrant platform, Tancredo’s most recent electoral failure came when he lost the 2014 Republican primary for governor of his home state, Colorado.