On Aug. 14, prominent white supremacist organizer Richard Spencer held a press conference at his own part-time residence in Alexandria, Virginia, following an Aug. 12 violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Spencer originally intended to hold the press event in a hotel but had to resort to his home after two establishments canceled his booking.
The white nationalist had attempted to hold the event secretly at the Sofitel Hotel in Washington, D.C., but that booking was canceled after activists leaked the location on social media, BuzzFeed News reports.
Spencer then attempted to shift the press conference to the Willard Hotel, also in the nation's capital, but that plan was also leaked online and abruptly canceled by hotel staff. The white nationalist then invited journalists to an apartment in Alexandria.
When reporters asked if the location was Spencer's home, the white nationalist responded: "I can live here part time, yes. But this is my office."
Journalists on the scene noted that the apartment contained books detailing the debunked and racist science of eugenics, which asserts that some races are genetically inferior to others.
Spencer, who has positioned himself as a figurehead of the alt-right, advocates for a white ethno-state and has asserted that American identity belongs to the white race. He graduated from the University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, according to Rolling Stone.
On Aug. 11, hundreds of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate statue and to stage a rally across the college town. On Aug. 12, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly intentionally drove his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, according to KABC.
Spencer asserted during his press conference that he did not organize the Charlottesville rally, although he did participate in it and was heavily featured on promotional materials for the demonstration.
When Spencer was asked if he believed that Heyer's blood was not on his hands, he responded: "Absolutely."
"I absolutely don't want violence," Spencer continued. He added that he would condemn Fields if it was proven that Fields "engaged in that kind of malicious violence intentionally ... I'm just going to reserve judgment until more facts come out."
Spencer said he would return to Charlottesville to hold another white nationalist rally.
"There is no way in hell that I am not going back," Spencer said, according to The New York Times.
Spencer's far-right think tank, the National Policy Institute, is based in Alexandria. City spokesman Craig Fifer disclosed that several of Spencer's neighbors had urged city officials to remove him from the neighborhood.
"We can't just read his tweets and arrest him and remove him, which has been suggested by some people," Fifer told the Washington Examiner.