On Tuesday many Americans were simultaneously horrified, delighted and vindicated when Mother Jones broke the news broke that Donald Trump’s campaign had selected an overt white nationalist as a delegate in California. The gloves or possibly the hood was coming off, and the Trump campaign had gone from cultivating sexism, racism and xenophobia, to officially welcoming white nationalism to Team Trump.
Soon after the news came the spin. Oh, hell no. Trump is the presumptive nominee, and scapegoating Mexicans in a policy sort of way is one thing. The new, seriously political Trump cannot have this. The campaign declared that the man in question–one William Johnson, chairman of the American Freedom Party–had been rejected as a delegate, and it was a mistake that he (apparently) got a confirmation email. A “database error.” Maybe “database error” is the new “Mistakes were made.”
The American Freedom Party and its crappy, slow-loading website are obviously white nationalist. The party’s motto is “Liberty, Sovereignty, Identity.” The website whines first and foremost about gays in the military, gay marriage and then women in combat. It also complains about illegal immigration, so there is the appeal of Trump to these sadsacks. Its platform is more a twisted, moralizing, xenophobic style of libertarianism, however. Like most white nationalists of 2016, the website swears this party is just for self-determination and the right to exclusion.
A lot of white nationalist types seem to dig Trump. A January New York Magazine article said that in a given week, 62 percent of Trump’s retweets “had white-supremacist connections.” The notion that the Trump campaign hasn’t been enthusiastically embraced by white supremacists, separatists, nationalists, or whatever they feel like calling themselves, is laughable. Former KKK grand wizard David Duke adores Trump. Trump may have eventually waved off his endorsement, but Duke is not alone. Politically active people on social media have seen how many Trump freaks who use #cuck (Jesus, when will that end?) often go full racist.
Is this Trump’s fault? His reactionary digs against Black Lives Matter and people interested in police reform, and his fearmongering against Muslims, Mexicans and basically all immigrants, means he has plenty of bad mojo for which to account. Trump may not be out shaking Klan hands, and his campaign may have tried to disavow their white nationalist delegate, but the American Freedom Party knows it has a friend in Trump. So do other nasty folk.
NEW: White Nationalist William Johnson remains on Trump’s delegate list. Statement from CA Secretary of State Spox: pic.twitter.com/v7DNg0QE7v— Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) May 11, 2016
Oops. Guess the Trump campaign really was just covering its ass. William Johnson would have been a happy, official delegate if not for Mother Jones noticing that he was an embarassing liability for the Trump camaign.
Johnson, for his part, decided to take a page from his candidate’s melodramatic book and offered to resign his place for the good of Trump. Unfortunately for Johnson’s truly heroic urges, he’s stuck. The list is certified by state law, and he’s a real live delegate.