Just over one year ago, a man who praised Adolf Hitler walked into a San Diego County synagogue and opened fire, killing Lori Lynn Gilbert-Kaye and injuring three others. In the aftermath, political figures put aside their differences to unite against hate and stood with the Jewish community of San Diego. Leaders and elected officials from both parties condemned anti-Semitism and made promises to continue to use their positions of power to fight against it. But after a video surfaced recently of San Diego County Republican Party Chair Tony Krvaric that prominently featured Nazi imagery, including pictures of Hitler and a swastika, Republican leaders have been mostly silent.
My great grandfather was murdered by Hilter’s regime – a regime that committed genocide against those whom they deemed to be impure, killing millions of innocent people. While the imagery of a prominent San Diego political figure posing with the anti-Semitic genocidal dictator is terrifying and deeply disturbing, even more concerning is the lack of condemnation by Republicans who stood with the Jewish community a little over a year ago. The video, produced in the early 1990s, included music and animations from the era, but Krvaric has failed to apologize or deny any involvement with the white nationalist movement.
Instead, Krvaric complained about the media and the Democratic Party, stopping short of denying his involvement with the video and so far has not apologized. To make matters worse, it also appears that the video featuring Hitler was only just the surface: the Krvaric family appears to have an affinity to white extremist movements. Krvaric’s eldest son, Viktor Krvaric, self-identified as a “Groyper,” which the Anti-Defamation League describes as “a loose network of alt-right figures who are vocal supporters of a white supremacist podcaster.” Krvaric’s younger son, Oliver, is the president of the San Diego State University College Republicans and has been accused of using coded language similar to what is used in white nationalist circles.
Even with evidence that the chair of the San Diego Republican Party has familial ties to white nationalist movements, few in the Republican Party have disavowed Krvaric and his sons. The Republican leaders who stood with the Jewish community against hate last year have been silent to condemn it from their party chair, and that silence is deafening. To date, only three prominent Republicans, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, congressional candidate Darrell Issa and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer have condemned the video. No other Republican has condemned Krvaric’s ties to white nationalism, including Sheriff Bill Gore. District Attorney Summer Stephan, who recently left the Republican Party and who spoke at multiple rallies after the synagogue shooting about eradicating hate in San Diego County, has also been silent. (Stephan’s most recent campaign for DA included attacks on liberal donor George Soros, which drew rebukes from the local Jewish community.) Other elected officials, including Supervisors Jim Desmond, Kristin Gaspar and Greg Cox; in addition to San Diego City Council members Chris Cate and Scott Sherman, have been notably silent after the video was made public.
When the image of the well-known leader of a major political party appears in a video prominently featuring Hitler, the only tolerable response is to apologize and disavow your previous actions, in addition to condemning white nationalism. Instead, Krvaric deflects and blames the media, the Democrats, or rogue members of his own party. He refused to apologize after multiple opportunities to do so. Krvaric has not apologized because he’s not sorry.
Without condemning Krvaric before his retirement as party chair, San Diego Republicans have signaled their complacency with extremism within their ranks. It’s beyond time for the Republican Party to do the moral and patriotic thing by condemning white nationalism and Krvaric’s actions.
Jacob Mandel is an entrepreneur, activist and native of San Diego.