Donald Trump selected avowed racist as one of his delegates

White Nationalist William Johnson’s signed a pledge form as a California delegate for Donald Trump and the billionaire’s campaign selected the head of the American Freedom Party to run for a seat at the Republican nominating convention.

California’s secretary of state published a list of delegates chosen by the Trump campaign for the upcoming Republican presidential primary in the state and his slate includes Johnson, one of the country’s most prominent white nationalists.

The move sparked angry reactions.

“Donald Trump has elevated hateful rhetoric against women, people with special needs, and minorities throughout his campaign,” said California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “The fact that he is blaming his inclusion of a white nationalist as one of his delegates on a ‘database error’ does not erase his previous record of hate-mongering.”

The American Freedom Party has never elected a candidate and has only a few thousand members, but it is “arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country,” according to Mark Potok, a senior fellow for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups.

Johnson is a corporate lawyer who raises chickens on a 67-acre ranch in a Los Angeles suburb and published a 1985 book calling for the repeal of the 14th and 15th Amendments and the deportation of all nonwhites.

Johnson learned that he had been selected by Trump in an 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 told Mother Jones. “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”

Johnson said that his application to be a Trump delegate at the 2016 Republican National Convention, he disclosed details about his background and activism, though he did not specifically use the term “white nationalist.”

Johnson has gained notice during the presidential primary for funding pro-Trump robocalls that convey a racist message.

“The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,'” Johnson said in one call broadcast to residential phones 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.”

Several times in the campaign, Trump has failed to repudiate racist support, such as his endorsement by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in August last year.

Last July, Trump tweeted a photo of himself looking stoic against a backdrop of an American flag and marching soldiers dressed as Nazi World War II-era Waffen-SS infantry.

Trump has retweeted white supremacist Twitter accounts such as @WhiteGenocideTM and @EustaceFash, which a campaign spokesperson explained by arguing that the candidate pays no attention to who’s remarks he is copying, but only to the content.

Potok says Trump has “legitimized and mainstreamed hate” in ways America has not seen since the days of George Wallace.

Jeremy Scahill said on Bill Maher’s Real Time show on Friday that Trump’s ascendance to the top of the Republican Party, “has whiffs of how Hitler rose to power.”

Scahill said that Trump’s anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim rhetoric gave voice to what he called “a significant minority of the population,” which caused it to feel emboldened enough to openly espouse their own bigoted beliefs.

“Trump has brought to the public the fact that we have a real strain of fascism in this country,” he told Maher.

The list of Republican leaders electing not to attend Donald Trump’s coronation at the national convention in Cleveland includes nearly all the party’s past presidents and nominees. At least nine GOP members of Congress have declared that they will not support Trump.




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