The conservative youth group Turning Point USA slammed left-wing MSNBC for an attack on new U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna.
Controversy ignited when an MSNBC reporter, Julio Ricardo Varela, discussed Luna’s background, including her connection to Turning Point, which he referred to as a “MAGA white supremacist cult.”
Varela did so in an article posted on MSNBC’s website on Jan. 7. The article also accused Donald Trump of igniting “incitement of hatred against Mexicans” when he ran for president in 2016, and also labeled Trump an “authoritarian xenophobe.”
Yet Varela did not stop there. He also proclaimed that the “MAGA movement” is “anti-democratic, racist, and anti-American.”
Subsequently, Turning Point’s legal team fired off a “cease and desist” letter to Varela and his employer.
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“Your article goes beyond expressing mere personal disdain for our organization,” Turning Point’s letter said. “Instead, you make a baseless assertion that TPUSA is a white supremacist cult.”
“Your statement is actionable defamation for which TPUSA demands immediate corrective action.”
The group threatened to sue if MSNBC did not issue a retraction, asserting the claim hurt its reputation, members, and sponsors.
“TPUSA’s mission, values, programs, and initiatives are squarely within its education purpose and do not align in any sense with white nationalism,” the letter continued. Turning Point also claimed MSNBC could not avoid legal repercussions by saying Varela’s article was his personal opinion because it can be proven “demonstrably false.”
Luna, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, herself added that “@MSNBC (was) pushing a twisted lie” in a statement to the conservative website Florida’s Voice.
On Twitter, she added, “MSNBC is really trying to paint me as a white supremacist? Honestly I’m pretty sick of left-leaning media focusing so much on my race. It’s sad to see how triggered the left is over the fact that I’m conservative.”
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On Twitter on Friday, the group’s founder Charlie Kirk, declared, “MSNBC attacked Rep. Anna Paulina Luna and slandered Turning Point USA as a ‘MAGA white supremacist cult.’ TPUSA’s legal team has issued a Cease and Desist demanding that MSNBC immediately issue a retraction & apology for platforming these reckless and defamatory statements.”
“TPUSA, our students, our supporters, and our alumni like Rep. Paulina Luna will not put up with MSNBC and woke contributors like Julio Ricardo Varela when they slander us and our movement. We will advance this legally until we receive a full retraction and apology.”
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday, MSNBC added an editorial note: “This article has been updated to clarify Turning Point USA’s connections to white nationalist beliefs.”