When Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) invited the head of the English-only outfit, ProEnglish, to testify before the State Government Committee on September 24, it’s unlikely he anticipated the controversy to follow.
Using evidence originally uncovered by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), Rep. Leslie Acosta (D-Philadelphia), called out ProEnglish executive director, Robert Vandervoort as a “white supremacist.”
When Acosta raised the issue, Metcalfe cut off her microphone during debate on the bill. When responding to criticism over giving Vandervoort a platform, Metcalfe tried to argue that there is a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy.
“The comments that she made about some alleged white supremacist being in our meeting was outrageous,” Metcalfe said on the floor. “To say somebody is a nationalist and for the independence of their country and a patriot to defending their country is a lot different from saying somebody is a racist.”
Despite Metcalfe’s defense, Vandervoort has a long history of involvement in racist groups.
IREHR first outed Vandervoort as a white nationalist when he took the stage at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). IREHR was also the first organization to document Vandervoort’s founding of the white nationalist group, Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance.
For more on Robert Vandervoort, see “What About Bob: Robert Vandervoort and White Nationalism.”
IREHR’s research appeared in the Allentown Morning Call, among other Pennylvania news outlets during the controversy.