[Ed. – There’s been a wild flurry about this across the rightosphere, based on verbiage at the Southern Poverty Law Center from which the links were scrubbed sometime right around 12 August. Charlottesville’s local paper has done some legwork and gotten comments from associates of Kessler, including a former girlfriend, who affirm that he was indeed a left-wing activist and a participant in Occupy Charlottesville in 2011. It does sound from this article like Kessler “turned,” rather than being the agent of a false-flag set-up, as some have speculated.]
In an interview last month, one of Kessler’s childhood friends, David Caron, said Kessler previously had identified as a Democrat, but became disillusioned when he started thinking that there was no place for him in a party that has focused its efforts on embracing diversity and minority issues. He said the two of them had started supporting Trump last summer and attended one of his rallies in Richmond.
“He was a Democrat until last year. The main thing is, he said he felt like the party didn’t want him,” Caron said.
Laura Kleiner, a Democratic activist who lives in Staunton, said she dated Kessler for several months in 2013. She said Kessler was very dedicated to his liberal principles, and that he was a strict vegetarian, abstained from alcohol and drugs, embraced friends of different ethnicities and was an atheist.
“He broke up with me, and a lot of it was because I was not liberal enough,” she said. “I am a very progressive Democrat … but he didn’t like that I ate fish and that I’m a Christian.”
Kleiner said Kessler was well aware that she was of Jewish heritage, and that he showed no signs of being anti-Semitic. She also said he had a roommate for several years who was an African immigrant.