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Trump Campaign Selects White Supremacist and Anti-Semite as California Delegate

When called out, the campaign blamed the appointment of William Johnson on a “database error”

Yair Rosenberg
May 11, 2016
Mark Lyons/Getty Images
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, May 5, 2016. Mark Lyons/Getty Images
Mark Lyons/Getty Images
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, May 5, 2016. Mark Lyons/Getty Images

On Monday night, the California secretary of state published a list of 169 official Donald Trump delegates for the state’s upcoming presidential primary. As Mother Jones quickly observed, one delegate in particular stood out: William Johnson, one of America’s most prominent white supremacist leaders, and an anti-Semite who advocates deporting all non-whites.

Johnson is the head of the “American Freedom Party,” a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group purports to “represent the political interests of White Americans,” and advocates the expulsion of non-whites from the country. Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Mother Jones that AFP is “arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country.”

Johnson has been outspoken in both his racist views and his support for Trump that follows from them. He previously made headlines after sending out racist robocalls for Trump—and against “Cuban” senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. “The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,’ ” Johnson said in one such call. “Donald Trump is not racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.”

Johnson has admitted one reservation about his favored candidate, however. Interviewed for Slate in February by Tablet contributor Michelle Goldberg, he was asked:

Does it bother you or people in your movement that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is Jewish?

It bothers a lot of people in the movement. It also bothers me, yes.

Speaking to Mother Jones, Johnson marveled at how Trump’s campaign had made it more permissible for him to be open about his bigoted views. “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 said. “Now they come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re like Donald Trump.’ ”

When confronted about Johnson’s inclusion (see his pledge here) on the Trump campaign’s selected slate of California delegates, spokeswoman Hope Hicks blamed the appointment on a “database error“:

Yesterday the Trump campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California. A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016.

No word yet from the Trump campaign on whether Trump’s effort to ban Muslim immigration, his decades of demeaning comments about women, and his regular retweeting of white supremacists were also “database errors.”

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.