President Donald Trump recently endorsed a possible congressional run from former MLB pitcher and Breitbart podcast host Curt Schilling. Schilling has a long history of spewing anti-Muslim, racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic commentary, and he was fired by ESPN for posting anti-trans bigotry on Facebook. He has also promoted multiple conspiracy theories, including QAnon and claims that the Sandy Hook mass shooting was a hoax, and once praised a shirt endorsing violence against journalists.
Trump endorsed Schilling’s possible run for Congress
Curt Schilling said he’s considering running for Congress. In a radio interview on August 11, Schilling said he was “absolutely considering” a run for Congress, according to The Arizona Republic. From the August 12 article:
Former Arizona Diamondbacks legend and outspoken conservative Curt Schilling said he is "absolutely considering" running for Congress in Arizona against one of the state's five Democrats.
In a statement to The Arizona Republic, the former pitcher acknowledged he is weighing whether to enter politics. Schilling, an Arizona native who identifies himself as a Massachusetts resident, did not make clear which district he is considering.
"Not ready to do any of that right now. If/When things solidify I will but right now it's something in the 'I'm considering it' stage," Schilling wrote in an email. [The Arizona Republic, 8/12/19]
Trump endorsed Schilling’s possible congressional run. On August 13, Trump tweeted that it was “terrific” that Schilling was considering running.
Curt Schilling, a great pitcher and patriot, is considering a run for Congress in Arizona. Terrific! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019
Schilling has displayed Nazi memorabilia and promoted an avowed white nationalist
Schilling promoted his collection of Nazi memorabilia on Facebook. In August 2015, Schilling went on Facebook to promote his collection of World War II memorabilia that included “numerous Nazi uniforms with swastikas.” Boston.com quoted Omer Bartov, a Brown University professor and leading expert on the Holocaust, saying that Schilling had “some kind of fetish with Nazi uniforms.” [Boston.com, 8/25/15; Twitter, 8/13/19]
Schilling praised white nationalist Paul Nehlen. In 2017, Schilling interviewed white nationalist and anti-Semite Paul Nehlen, who was then running a failed primary campaign to unseat former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). During the interview, Schilling promoted Nehlen’s campaign despite ample public evidence at the time of Nehlen’s extremism and open embrace of white nationalism. [ThinkProgress, 12/28/17; HuffPost, 8/14/18]
Schilling has a record of using his platform on social media and elsewhere to push bigotry and hatred
Schilling was fired from ESPN for amplifying an anti-trans Facebook post. In April 2016, ESPN fired Schilling from an MLB analyst role for sharing a transphobic meme on Facebook that perpetuated the thoroughly debunked “bathroom predator” myth. The meme featured a “man in ripped women's clothes” with the caption: “Let him in to the restroom with your daughter or else you're a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!” [Media Matters, 10/23/16, 4/12/16]
Schilling had been previously suspended from ESPN for controversial tweet. In August 2015, ESPN suspended Schilling after he tweeted the following meme:
[Media Matters, 10/23/16]
Schilling has shared memes praising the Confederate flag, calling civil rights heroes unpatriotic, and claiming Black Lives Matter was a movement “founded on a lie.” In 2015, Schilling shared memes comparing the imagery of the Confederate flag to “the Blood of Christ,” “the Protection of God,” and the “Christian Cross of Saint Andrew”; suggesting Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), an icon of the civil rights movement, was unpatriotic; and claiming the Black Lives Matter movement was “founded on a lie” rather than social justice. [Media Matters, 10/23/16]
Schilling falsely claimed “illegals” create more crime. During a call-in to radio station WPEN-FM in May 2018, Schilling falsely claimed that the “crime rate is higher because illegals are here.” [WPEN-FM, The Mike Missanelli Show, 5/22/18; Media Matters, 1/9/19]
Schilling defended Trump’s comment that he would date a teenage girl in 10 years. During a Fox Business appearance in October 2016, Schilling defended then-candidate Trump following unearthed 1992 remarks in which the future president said of a 10-year-old girl, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?” Schilling asked host Trish Regan, “How many times have you looked at a young man and said ‘wow, he’s a beautiful young man’ or ‘wow he’s a gorgeous young man’?” Regan responded, “Zero.” Schilling called her a liar, insisting that “there’s no way you haven’t seen somebody else’s son and said ‘Wow, he’s beautiful.’” Regan concluded, “And thought I ought to be dating him? No, sorry. You’re on your own on this one.” [Media Matters, 10/23/16]
Schilling minimized sexual assault by suggesting it was not possible to “inappropriately kiss a porn star.” In response to the report of a woman who said Trump had hugged and kissed her without her consent, Schilling said in October 2016, “Listen, a porn star came out the other day and said that he kissed her inappropriately. I got to ask: How do you inappropriately kiss a porn star? How does that work?” [Breitbart, Whatever It Takes, 10/28/16]
Schilling: “Who cares” if Bill O’Reilly sexually harassed people. During a call-in to radio station WPEN-FM in June 2017, Schilling said “who cares” if multiple sexual assault allegations against then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly were true, saying people were “hung up” over them. [WPEN-FM, The Mike Missanelli Show, 6/1/17]
Schilling praised a photo of a shirt promoting violence against journalists. In November 2016, Schilling tweeted an image of a man at a Trump rally with a shirt reading, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” Schilling added, “Ok, so much awesome here…”
Schilling has repeatedly promoted hoaxes and conspiracy theories, including QAnon
Schilling endorsed and promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory. In a June 2018 Facebook post, Schilling wrote, “I've been asked about ‘Q’ for months now,” referring to the central figure of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which an FBI field office recently listed a possible domestic terrorism threat. Schilling added that he “started to research this about a month ago and was sent this today. You will not be able to stop watching once you start,” linking in the post to a QAnon YouTube video that also pushed the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and suggested a “cabal” was behind the Sandy Hook mass shooting. Days later on his Breitbart show, Schilling claimed that “there's something there” with the conspiracy theory, urging his listeners to find another QAnon YouTube video and “tweet something about it.” Schilling has also praised a major QAnon social media account.
Schilling endorsed the “Clinton body count” conspiracy theory. Schilling has repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theory that the Clintons have murdered multiple people. In 2015, he posted a meme claiming Hillary Clinton left “a trail of dead bodies behind her.” In a 2016 radio appearance, he claimed that “the number of people associated with the Clintons over the years that have been disappeared and been killed or died is, like, in the 40s or 50s,” adding, “Maybe it's not a coincidence.” On August 10, Schilling tweeted about the conspiracy theory, referring to “the Clinton suicide stories” and writing, “If you still think it’s all made up you truly are too stupid to vote.”
Schilling promoted a conspiracy theory and hoax attacking Parkland school shooting survivor. In February 2018, Schilling pushed a tweet suggesting that Parkland, FL, mass shooting survivor David Hogg was a so-called crisis actor. In April 2018, he retweeted a meme attacking the student with a fake quote attributed to Hogg. [Yahoo Sports, 2/24/18; Media Matters, 3/26/18]
Schilling posted article from then-major fake news site to blame George Soros for Syrian chemical weapons attack. In April 2017, Schilling tweeted a piece from YourNewsWire, then a major fake news site since renamed NewsPunch, claiming that billionaire philanthropist George Soros was behind a chemical weapons attack in Syria. Schilling added, “Click on the ‘false flag’ link at least.”
Schilling has fallen for hoax Twitter accounts multiple times. In 2017, Schilling tweeted a link to a fake news site pushing a hoax that one of then-Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s accusers had been offered money by The Washington Post. In 2018, Schilling fell for an anti-LGBTQ hoax and attacked a troll Twitter account claiming, “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation you bigots." [Twitter, 11/20/17; Conservative Daily Post, 11/10/17; Media Matters, 7/6/17, 12/23/18; The Daily Beast, 11/14/17; NBC News, 1/4/19]
Schilling promoted material from Macedonian fake news site. In 2016, Schilling tweeted a link to usapoliticstoday.com, the first known major Macedonian fake news site, after sharing a meme attacking Hillary Clinton.
[Media Matters, 7/19/18]