White House
The exterior view of the south side of the White House is seen in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2005. Getty Images/ Alex Wong

On the same day that President Donald Trump decried a reporter’s question regarding the term “nationalist” — that he frequently refers himself as — being associated with “racist” connotations, a white supremacist leader tweeted a photo of himself standing in front of the White House.

The man in question was Patrick Casey, the leader of a European white nationalist group called Identity Evropa, which helped plan the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester was killed.

When The Guardian asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders what Casey was doing in front of the iconic presidential mansion, she said he did not receive any special invitation and was just there as part of a tour group.

“He was one of more than 25,000 people who came to the White House Fall Garden Tour, which is open to the public. Free tickets are made available to anyone who wants to attend,” she said Wednesday.

After his initial tweet caused quite a buzz on social media, Casey clarified the reason behind his White House visit, concurring with Sanders' explanation:

Although it was not immediately clear exactly where Casey took the pictures that he tweeted, Daily Beast reported that the portion seen in the images was not accessible to White House visitors or tour groups and that Casey would have had to be escorted there by a staff member of the Trump administration.

After Trump condemned African-American PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor’s question about the word “nationalist,” the latter tweeted: “My Q was fair & timely. Patrick Casey, executive director of Identity Evropa, which Southern Poverty Law Center says is part of the ‘alt-right’s’ effort to recruit white, college-aged men and make them the ‘new face of white nationalism,’ tweeted that he was at the WH today.”

Identity Evropa was founded by Iraq War veteran Nathan Damigo in 2016 with the goal to “recruit white, college-aged men and transform them into the fashionable new face of white nationalism,” Southern Poverty Law Center reported. Although Casey’s group calls itself “explicitly non-violent organization” its website read:

“As Identitarians, we believe that identity matters, inequality is a fact of life, and ethnic diversity, as demonstrated by substantial historical and sociological evidence, is an impediment to societal harmony. Unfortunately, the fetishization of diversity has resulted in a paradigm wherein ‘less White people’ – in academia, employment, and countries overall – is accepted as a moral imperative. We categorically reject this ‘progressive’ morality and instead demand that we, people of European heritage, retain demographic supermajorities in our homelands.”

In an interview earlier this year, Casey said while his group did not “believe America needs to be 100 percent white” in order to succeed on the global scale, it did require to have “a European-America super-majority.” To achieve that end, he proposed to “end immigration for the time being” and in the future only allow “high-skilled immigrants from, you know, Europe, Canada, Australia” to enter the nation.

He also has attended the Conservative Political Action Conference, a mainstream gathering of conservative activists in Washington, and told news outlets that he was on a mission to “take over the GOP as much as possible."