It happened again. A high-profile right-wing figure had to fire a staffer for connections with Nazi stuff. On Tuesday, according to Axios, the DeSantis campaign communications staffer Nate Hochman, somewhat famous as a rising intellectual on the right, was fired for creating a video with the Black Sun (also known as the Sonnenrad), a popular neo-Nazi symbol.
The video, which concluded with DeSantis’s head at the center of the Black Sun emblazoned on the Florida flag, was first noticed by Republican strategist Luke Thompson on Sunday. Thompson wondered if it had been made in-house by the DeSantis team. Hochman had drawn attention to himself by retweeting it. (Hochman then removed his retweet.)
Soon after, Semafor reported Hochman’s firing and Axios confirmed he made the video. The New York Times also reported that a different homophobic DeSantis video questioning Trump’s commitment to ending LGBTQ+ rights was also made by a DeSantis staffer. It’s not clear if it was Hochman, who did not respond to a request for a comment.
Both videos are deeply regressive and clearly made to appeal to younger, “more based” portions of the internet. The Black Sun video from Sunday that got Hochman fired features years-old references to Terrorwave and Wojacks, a popular meme that rose to prominence on 4chan.
The Daily Beast noted that the account, @DeSantisCams, has posted other videos featuring DeSantis clips cut to videos of Nazis and Benito Mussolini. According to the publication, Hochman had retweeted the account six other times.
Funnily enough, the video didn’t even land well with its intended audience. One 4chan poster called it a “cringy meme video.” Other posters replied in a similar fashion: “Desperation white supremacist astroturfing”; “pathetic that it was made by the campaign itself, laundered to 3rd party accounts to make it seem organic, then deleted anyway.”
This type of thing—an establishment figure or institution finding someone in their ranks associated with, or outright sympathizes with, right-wing ideas close to Nazism and then having to be fired—is not at all new. One of the most prominent and extreme examples happened in 2020 when Tucker Carlson fired a top staffer for posting racist content. In 2021, the Texas GOP had to fire a staffer who posted a video from the Capitol Riot and who posted Pizzagate conspiracy theories. Samuel Francis was famously fired from the Washington Times for talking at a eugenicist conference and saying that the “genetic endowments” of white people made them the “creating people” of Europe and America. Hochman, fittingly, has cited Francis in the past. (As have many on the New Right who loved his phrase “anarcho-tyranny.”)
This also isn’t the first time that Hochman has gotten himself into trouble for associating with white nationalists. In 2022, he took part in a Twitter Space with white nationalist influencer Nick Fuentes. The Dispatch, which obtained the audio of the conversation, quoted Hochman saying that “Nick’s probably a better influence than Ben Shapiro on young men who might otherwise be conservatives,” and said that “there are good things” about “the fact that kids are listening.” He noted that he has “respect” for some of Fuentes’s work.
Hochman’s specific motivations in posting the Black Sun DeSantis aren’t clear. A generous reading is that he is not a neo-Nazi, but is cynical (and sympathetic enough) to want them in Desantis’s coalition. The most critical reading is that, well, he is a neo-Nazi. It doesn’t matter much either way. There’s another meme: If you have 10 people at a dinner table and one Nazi, you’re having dinner with 11 Nazis.”
Anyway, remember this tweet?