UPDATE: McGeachin on Friday released a statement confirming the details in this report. She denies having "sinister motives" but stands by her support for Todd Engel, the man convicted in connection with the Bundy standoff. The release of the statement was reported by the Idaho Press.
Idaho Lieutenant Gov. Janice McGeachin appears to have shared a picture of herself posing with two men making hand gestures widely associated with white nationalism. The post was spotted by an Idaho resident who told TYT she took a screengrab of the post before it was deleted.
The post, which appeared on McGeachin’s Facebook page, says, “Sending love to Todd Engel from the Idaho Capitol.” Engel was sentenced last year to 14 years in prison for traveling from Idaho to Nevada and, while armed with an AR-15 rifle, impeding federal agents during the standoff with rancher Cliven Bundy over use of federal land.
The two men in the picture are wearing shirts that give Engel’s inmate number at the Lompoc, California, federal penitentiary.
In their photo with McGeachin, she appears to make a heart symbol with her hands, directed at Engel’s name on one of the men’s shirts. The men make a modified “Okay” hand gesture widely associated with alt-right, anti-government, white nationalist movements, including the so-called Three Percenters militia. (The group’s name refers to the claim that only three percent of U.S. colonists took up arms against the British government.)
Although McGeachin’s post was deleted, TYT located what appears to be the photo’s source: A post published by a Facebook page called Idaho Political Prisoner Foundation. The group posted the McGeachin picture and also other pictures of the two men.
The McGeachin photo appears to have been posted on Thursday night, but it does not say when it was taken.
McGeachin, elected last year, has been the subject of controversy around extremist, white-supremacist associations in the past. (Her office did not immediately reply to TYT’s request for comment.)
Last year, during her campaign, McGeachin on her Facebook page thanked a supporter whose post to her began, “I’m proud to be white again!”
Nor is Engel the only convict from the Bundy standoff to whom McGeachin has lent her support. Idaho Public Television reported that McGeachin shared a video last year from Eric Parker, who appeared in a widely seen photograph aiming a rifle at federal agents.
As with Thursday night’s photo, both of McGeachin’s 2018 posts were later deleted.
McGeachin was criticized during the campaign for associating with far-right elements using violent rhetoric, including the Three Percenters movement. In an editorial endorsing her Democratic opponent, Kristin Collum, the Idaho State Journal wrote, “McGeachin’s seen as too extreme by some people in the Idaho Republican Party.”
Emily Walton, who spotted McGeachin’s post, told TYT she works on state legislative campaigns but was not involved with Collum’s. Walton said she found McGeachin’s post because she follows the lieutenant governor, who is a Republican, on Facebook.
“I hate it when elected leaders bring shame on Idaho and make us look bad,” Walton said. “She needs to resign.”
Jonathan Larsen is TYT's managing editor. You can find him on Twitter @JTLarsen.
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