A white nationalist who started a "White Student Union" while attending Towson University in 2013 was involved in a physical altercation with black protesters at a rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump on Super Tuesday, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC, which has tracked the activities of Matthew Heimbach for a few years as part of its "Hatewatch" project, said the former Towson student shoved the protesters and engaged in a "pushing and shouting match" with them at the Trump rally in Louisville. The incident made international news.
The SPLC quoted from a post Heimbach wrote on the website of the Traditionalist Youth Network, a segregationist group he co-founded. Heimbach alleged that the protesters had become rowdy and without police around to remove them, "the crowd finally took matters into their own hands."
"Honestly, I had planned to merely attend [the rally] as an idle spectator, but the protesters were as hostile as anything I've seen at actual [white] nationalist events," Heimbach wrote. He didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Heimbach drew attention in 2013 when the "White Student Union" group he formed – which wasn't formally recognized by Towson University – began nighttime patrols in response to what he claimed was a spike in black-on-white crime. Prior to that another Heimbach-affiliated group chalked messages such as "white pride" and "white guilt is over" around the campus.
Hundreds of Towson students and faculty held a rally to disavow Heimbach and declare that the school stood for tolerance and diversity.
Heimbach wrote on his website that he would avoid future Trump events to avoid becoming a distraction.
"It won't be me next time, but White Americans are getting fed up and they're learning that they must either push back or be pushed down," he wrote.