UPDATE: Lucian Wintrich talk to NYU College Republicans postponed
The gay conservative WH correspondent is set to discuss how America’s ‘leftist mentality stifles art and culture’
Following the chaotic reception that met guest speaker Gavin McInnes two weeks ago, NYU College Republicans have done anything but slow down, inviting a similarly controversial figure, Lucian Wintrich, as their speaker to this week’s Thursday meeting.
Wintrich is a gay media strategist and photographer turned conservative White House correspondent. The 28-year-old’s website boasts an endorsement from Karl Rove as “the sexiest man alive,” as well as a diverse cache of digital content and graphic design credits. His photography series ‘Twinks4Trump,’ featuring men scantily styled and wearing MAGA hats, was on display at last summer’s RNC’s ‘Gays for Trump’ party. Last October, Wintrich hosted the first pro-Trump art show titled ‘Daddy Will Save Us,’ which showcased works from Gavin McInnes, Martin Shkreli, and a performance art piece by Milo Yiannopoulos, bathing in a tub of pig’s blood.
In an exclusive email correspondence with The Tab, Wintrich said his focus for Thursday’s meeting will be “the leftist mentality in America that stifles art/culture, and the golden cows that they needlessly promote.” When asked if he was concerned about potential protests, he added that “having watched Gavin’s experience, I did reach out to secure some security.”
We caught up with Lucian over the phone from Washington, D.C. on Monday, where he had just attended the White House press conference.
First off, congratulations on your first White House press briefing. That must have been exciting.
Thank you, it’s funny, Media Matters, George Soros’ website, already attacked me. Their biggest false charge that they leveled against me is that I’m transphobic, which is (laughs) kind of funny.
Did they cite a quote with their claim?
Yeah, I mean I got into a twitter feud with Hari Nef a while back. Hari’s whole entire persona and personality is based off, first of all, being far more of a media whore than me and the majority of other people. And it’s ridiculous, she’s profiting from basically pitching these problems in American society that don’t actually exist.
Milo Yiannopoulos, who you’ve collaborated with before, is more outspoken about his thoughts on transgender rights, do you relate to his sentiments at all?
I’m more or less a Goldwater Republican. One of my best friends is Sophia Lamar who is a trans icon in New York. My logic is that everyone has the freedom to do whatever they want. If you want to go from Bradley to Chelsea Manning, that’s totally fine, that’s not impacting my freedoms and liberties. I’ll call you a different name, I really don’t care. Such being said, it’s when trans-rights activists say ‘oh well we need an entire separate bathroom’ or ‘we need a new infrastructure for our identity,’ then it’s impacting the American taxpayer and that’s a violation of other people’s freedoms.
You’re a correspondent for The Gateway Pundit, can you talk about how you got started there?
Jim (Hoft) and I met at the RNC at the ‘Gays for Trump’ party, which was also the premiere of the (Twinks4Trump) series. Shortly after that I went back to New York, and I was experiencing a lot of pushback for my participation at the RNC. Jim and I had become very good friends while we were there, he actually helped out with the art show that I threw in New York back in October, and after my career in advertising came to an abrupt halt, he very very kindly reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in working with him, and I jumped at the opportunity.
You’re set to speak at the NYU College Republicans meeting this Thursday. What are you planning to talk about?
It’s going to be about how current progressive culture inhibits the arts and expression. It’s acting as a sort of fascist form of censorship on what we can and cannot say or do which is, I think, very un-American. So that will largely be my concentration. Personally I come from an arts background, both my parents are artists. My father runs an advertising firm back in Pittsburgh, and my mother is a painter and experimental film-maker, so I have a personal, very strong appreciation for the arts and artistic expression.
What do you think is the problem with NYU students today? Or colleges in general?
I went to Bard College where the atmosphere was very, very similar. Students are completely close-minded to hearing viewpoints or ideas that don’t exactly adhere to a very specific worldview. At the time, I thought this was a fad, it was a trend, that it was going to go away, but we’ve seen it spiral recently. Between what happened when Gavin (McInnes) spoke there, and people macing conservatives and screaming that they’re Nazis, it’s absolutely nonsense.
You know, the Nazis were known for censoring people and attacking their political dissidents. I think there’s definitely Nazi-hypocrisy from a lot of these progressive schools, and I think it’s largely bad for mental and emotional development that a lot of these schools have almost accepted these terms.
What was your reaction to the reception Gavin McInnes received, had you agreed to speak before or after his experience?
I agreed to speak after that, actually. I’m not going to name the other school, but I was supposed to speak at a different, very liberal arts institution and they kept bumping me. First they bumped me because they said ‘oh it’s right before the election, the students are too nervous, it’ll be better to have you speak about after Hillary wins,’ and I thought okay we’ll see what happens there (laughs). And then after the election they said, ‘well, the students are so distraught right now that Trump won, they’re just not going to be emotionally prepared for you to be on campus so we need to bump you until January.’ But then in January of course, ‘well, he’s in office.’
I think it’s hilarious, you have these students who are so unwilling to politically engage that just the thought of somebody on campus speaking, who has a different worldview than what they consider to be popular and accepted, is a huge problem. We saw this with Gavin at NYU. It’s very anti-academic.
What do NYU students need to hear?
The students I know who graduated from NYU are very creative. NYU does have a legacy for turning up pretty creative-minded people. Right now they’re at the risk of ruining that legacy through thought-policing and reactionary stances. Ideally, NYU students will quickly realize that conservative ideology is actually better for the arts and expression, and for culture as a whole.
What sparked the idea for the Twinks4Trump photo series, and your ‘Daddy Will Save Us’ art show?
Liberals love painting conservatives as these ignorant people from the midwest who are just blindly going with whatever the Republicans say, and that’s not even remotely true. With Twinks4Trump, I wanted to juxtapose the imagery of the Make America Great Again hat on attractive, twinky-looking boys, which was simultaneously trolling progressives and the stigmas and imagery that they’ve been perpetuating against conservatives.
And then I was also sort of trolling Evangelicals in the party, because I don’t think that Evangelicals should be instituting social policies either. Some of them are just as bad as progressives, like Ted Cruz. I don’t consider him a real conservative, personally. Anybody who is looking to pass more regulations, or if government says we need to fix something in society by passing more regulations, that’s a problem.
For ‘Daddy Will Save Us,’ I pulled together a collective of about a dozen artists and media personalities, because the vast majority of people who are conservative and in the arts scene are actively barred from galleries and from exhibiting their work, and they’re widely disparaged. I really just wanted to give everybody an outlet to finally have their work displayed, and we had some very very talented people who otherwise would not have gotten any exposure. And then obviously another mini-goal of that was to troll the very progressive and liberal arts scene in New York.
Whose idea was it for Milo to bathe in pig’s blood? What was the message behind that?
That was his idea, we were hanging out in Baton Rouge, Louisiana maybe a month before the show and he suggested it, and I thought it was just brilliant. Because it was his piece, though, I hate to dissect the meaning.
On the topic of Evangelicals, President Trump has said that he’s fine with gay marriage, but Vice-President Pence is an outspoken opponent of gay rights. He said in 2009 that gay couples signaled “societal collapse,” and opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. What are your thoughts on the VP?
There’s a wonderful show on HBO called Veep that outlines how little power the Vice President has. So first of all, while he no doubt did cater to his voting demographics, I don’t think there’s any cause for alarm that we’ve seen so far. I think there’s a lot of fear-mongering going on in the left where they’re trying to paint the right as this hateful, anti-gay force in America, and it’s so far from the truth.
In addition to that, (Trump) had an ‘LGBT for Trump’ shirt for sale on his campaign website, which was the first time ever that a conservative running for president had had a sort of “gay” merchandise. From a design and style perspective, I don’t know how many gay people would purchase it (laughs) but the gesture I think was pretty incredible.
What does making America great again look like, in your opinion?
Ideally, it would involve a much smaller federal government, more economic and personal liberties and freedoms, and less pandering to identity politics in government. Basically more classically conservative, because conservatism allows for the most freedom.
What do you think of President Trump’s actions in office so far, specifically regarding the Muslim ban and his executive order to begin construction of the wall along our border with Mexico?
I think it’s absolutely ridiculous how media from the left has decided to attack literally every policy he’s put forward, and every statement he gives. It’s incredibly asinine. I remember when Obama first took office back in 2008, if any conservative media outlet criticized him even remotely, if they said they disagreed with his policy, a bunch of tweets would go out calling that journalist a racist.
It’s insane to me how media from the left has gone as far as to make really vile, sexist comments against (Trump’s) wife and Ivanka, his daughter, and against Betsy DeVos most recently. It’s wild that such vitriol is tolerated by the left only if it’s against people on the right.
Do you think Ivanka, who was highly active in her father’s campaign, is fair game for criticism from the media?
If anything, I think Ivanka Trump is a symbol of feminism and the success that women can achieve. She’s a brilliant woman, she’s always been an incredible supporter of LGBT rights.
I was briefly on an email chain with her, and whenever the liberal media would write one of those nonsensical articles saying ‘ oh Donald Trump is going to take away all gay rights,’ she would ping everybody on the email chain and say no, this is just more nonsense, ignore it.
Is it a good time to be a Trump supporter?
Well he won, so yeah, it’s a perfect time (laughs). But it’s more so supporting the President, it’s not how people refer to it as being a Trump supporter, you know. I support our president, I support the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Do you think that conservatives felt the same when President Obama was president?
Obama was holding the office and while he would be criticized on policy, he wasn’t treated anywhere near how liberals have been treating Trump. They’re making a joke of the office of the presidency, and that’s pretty appalling.
This morning you retweeted a tweet by your boss, the Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft, of the two of you in the White House Press Room that included a #pepe hashtag and a frog emoji, symbols that have come to be associated with the alt-right. What does the “Pepe” image symbolize for you?
Pepe originated on 4Chan, it’s just an extension of new media and internet culture. We have plenty of wonderful in-jokes on the right, but the left said ‘oh wow, this frog meme is catching on among conservatives, so let’s quickly call it a hate symbol.’ Pretending cartoons are a hate symbol is the latest evolution of crazy from the left.
They’ve had the same tactic since the late 60s, when they were trying to woo over the black vote which they didn’t have. All of a sudden they started saying, ‘well, we’re not going to do policy today, but at least I’m not a racist Republican.’ And the Republican they were debating would say, ‘well, I’ve never passed anything racist, I don’t know where this is coming from, this is odd.’ But having people shout ‘racist’ at you, what are you going to do? It’s hard to grapple with that.
They’ve been using that same tactic since the 60s, and I think people on the right are over it at this point. If you want to call a frog-meme racist, go right ahead.
— Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) February 13, 2017
Do you think cartoons or symbols can be racist, by what they’re associated with?
I mean, yes, I’m sure racist cartoons exist. But I think it depends on the intention of the cartoonist, in that case.
What do you think about the alt-right? Do you consider yourself a part of that movement?
For a while the alt-right was a more encompassing term that had Libertarians and anti-globalists, but then good old Richard Spencer decided to basically co-opt the term ‘alt-right’ and turn it into something that is white-nationalism, which I don’t agree with and I’m not a part of.
Again, personally, I think white nationalists would do far better as democrats. You know, you used to not be able to run for a congressional seat as a democrat unless you were involved with the KKK. Hillary Clinton’s mentor was Robert Byrd, who was grand dragon of the KKK. So I think all the white nationalists really should reconsider their party affiliation (laughs).
Why aren’t you verified on Twitter yet?
That’s a great question. I don’t know, they’re kind of holding out. I think (laughs) I am a little bit troll-y, and if you have a somewhat troll-y internet presence, Facebook and Twitter are a little bit more reluctant to give you those shiny blue checkmarks.
Do you miss Milo’s presence on Twitter?
I do, he’s funny. I still follow his Facebook. It’s kind of ridiculous that Twitter just arbitrarily de-platformed him and then gave a false excuse that he was harassing Leslie Jones, which wasn’t the case. If you read what he wrote, it was completely mishandled on Twitter’s part.
Last question: are you sending any Twinks4Trump photos to the President for Valentine’s Day?
That’s a good idea, I might.
All photos courtesy and property of Lucian Wintrich