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ICYMI: Trump Campaign Selects Prominent White Nationalist as Campaign Delegate in California

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This afternoon, Mother Jones reported that Donald Trump’s campaign has selected a prominent white nationalist as a campaign delegate ahead of the upcoming California presidential primary. William Johnson is the head of the American Freedom Party, a group that “exists to represent the political interests of White Americans” and preserve “the customs and heritage of the European American people.”

The Mother Jones article, by Josh Harkinson, notes:

“Johnson got the news that he had been selected by Trump in a congratulatory email sent to him by the campaign’s California Delegate Coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino. ‘I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views,’ Johnson tells Mother Jones. ‘I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.’

Johnson says that in his application to be a GOP delegate for Trump he disclosed multiple details about his background and activism, though he did not specifically use the term ‘white nationalist.’ The Trump campaign and Lagomarsino did not respond to requests for comment. Whether or not Johnson was vetted by the Trump campaign, the GOP front-runner would have a hard time claiming ignorance of Johnson’s extreme views: Johnson has gained notice during the presidential primary for funding pro-Trump robocalls that convey a white nationalist message. ‘The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called racist,’ Johnson says in one robocall pushed out to residential landlines in Vermont and Minnesota. ‘…Donald Trump is not racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.’

… Johnson also now finds it easier to be himself: ‘For many, many years, when I would say these things, other white people would call me names: ‘Oh, you’re a hatemonger, you’re a Nazi, you’re like Hitler,’’ he confessed. ‘Now they come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re like Donald Trump.’’”

Today’s disturbing revelations join an explicit and troubling pattern. In late April, Trump received the endorsement of a Virginia-based leader of the Ku Klux Klan, who said, “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in.” Additionally, Trump has received the backing of David Duke and one of Europe’s most prominent anti-immigrant and xenophobes, Jean-Marie Le Pen; has refused to condemn anti-Semitic vitriol directed against reporter and Melania Trump profiler Julia Ioffe; declined to immediately disavow support from the KKK and Duke; and has retweeted white nationalists and a quotefrom fascist leader Benito Mussolini. As Evan Osnos wrote in the New Yorker last year, the white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements view Donald Trump as a “standard-bearer,” capable of delivering “the appearance of legitimacy to a moral vision once confined to the fevered fringe.”

In a new Medium post, immigration attorney David Leopold assesses, “Nothing about Trump or his presidential campaign has been funny. Ever … Trump’s presumptive nomination as the GOP’s candidate for President of the United States makes this election about much more than partisan politics. It’s now about protecting our nation from the likes of a man whose very presence in the Oval Office would threaten America’s core values and, perhaps, the strength of our democracy. Trump must not be passed off as merely politically incorrect, controversial, or the product of untapped voter anger. Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, nativist demagogue. Period.”

As Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, recently stated, “We should not lose our collective shock or outrage that the leading contender for the Republican nomination is a magnet for KKK leaders who are rallying behind his vision for America.”