William H. Regnery II, the heir to a family publishing fortune who was known for his quiet but influential support of extremely conservative causes in the United States has died at 80.
He died at his home in Boca Grande, Florida, on July 2. A person at the Lemon Bay Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Englewood, Florida, on Saturday confirmed that the funeral home handled arrangements for Regnery. A cousin told the New York Times that he had cancer.
Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an email Saturday that Regnery "was an extremely influential figure in the radical right" who typically "operated in the background."
Regnery spent much of his life using his family’s money to build an institutional infrastructure that would support the alt-right and help propel figures like white nationalist Richard Spencer into the spotlight, Miller said.
Spencer tweeted about Regnery on July 12, saying he "was fortunate to have known him and learned much from him."
In a 2017 interview, Regnery reportedly told BuzzFeed News that he felt his ideas were redeemed by the candidacy of now former President Donald Trump.
“I think Trump was a legitimatizer,” Regnery told the publication. White nationalism “went from being conversation you could hold in a bathroom, to the front parlor.”
Regnery was born on Feb. 25, 1941, in the Chicago area and grew up in the suburb of Hinsdale, Illinois, The New York Times reported. His father worked for the family textile business.
Regnery’s grandfather, William H. Regnery, was a founding member of the America First Committee, which sought to keep the United States out of World War II.
His uncle Henry founded Regnery Publishing, which continues to publish books by a range of conservative voices, now as an imprint of the Salem Media Group and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
Regnery's National Policy Institute was once led by Spencer, but “it appears to no longer be operational” Miller said.
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