In his latest defense of everything Trump, Sinclair Broadcast Group chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn claimed that Donald Trump Jr. “is the farthest thing from a racist or anti-semite” after the president’s son retweeted an anti-Semitic claim by comedian Roseanne Barr. Trump Jr. has promoted bigoted material online, given a radio interview to a white nationalist and anti-Semite, and retweeted a leading anti-Semitic writer.
Epshteyn is a former aide to President Donald Trump who now hosts “must-run” commentary segments that air on local news broadcasts on Sinclair-owned or -operated stations across the country. His tenure at the White House was brief and rocky.
His body of work at the White House included a statement he helped write commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day that “set off a furor because it excluded any mention of Jews.” (The White House defended itself by stating -- in a reference to Epshteyn -- that the message was written “with the help of an individual who is both Jewish and the descendent of Holocaust survivors.”) He also gained, as Politico reported, a reputation at all three cable news networks “as someone who is combative and sometimes difficult to work with, even when he arrives at studios as a guest of a network. He has offended people in green rooms with comments they have interpreted as racially insensitive and demeaning.”
On May 29, Epshteyn defended Donald Trump Jr. after he retweeted Barr’s false smear that philanthropist (and prior Media Matters donor) George Soros “is a nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered.” That claim from Barr, who is Jewish, has long been part of an anti-Semitic smear campaign against Soros.
The New York Post’s gossip section Page Six wrote up Trump Jr.’s retweets with the headline “Donald Trump Jr. retweeted Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets.” Trump Jr. responded by claiming, “They know full well that I did not RT anything that was anti-semitic, but I guess facts don’t matter when you’re a dishonest, clickbait rag.” Epshteyn responded by tweeting that Trump Jr. is “the farthest thing” from a racist or an anti-Semite:
I am proud to call @DonaldJTrumpJr a personal friend. He is the farthest thing from a racist or anti - semite and is a great friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. For @PageSix to suggest otherwise is shameful. They are engaging in reprehensible click-bait here. https://t.co/qMinT8uQNT
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) May 29, 2018
But in reality, Trump Jr. has, as Vox.com’s Libby Nelson put it, “a white supremacist problem.”
In March 2016, Trump Jr. gave an interview to James Edwards, a white nationalist and anti-Semite. The interview aired on the Liberty RoundTable, which is hosted by Edwards’ syndicator, Sam Bushman. Edwards appeared on the program as a guest and questioner. During that interview, Trump Jr. agreed with Edwards that the media is “the enforcer of political correctness.”
In August 2016, Trump Jr. retweeted anti-Semitic writer Kevin MacDonald, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has described as “the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic.” According to SPLC, “MacDonald published a trilogy that supposedly ‘proves’ that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies.”
In September 2016, as The Washington Post noted, Trump Jr. posted an image celebrating “Pepe the Frog, a symbol that has been co-opted by white supremacists and nationalists.”
In September 2016, Trump Jr. told a radio program that the media had been letting then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “slide” on everything and “if Republicans were doing that, they'd be warming up the gas chamber right now.” The Anti-Defamation League criticized Trump Jr. for his “trivialization of the Holocaust and gas chambers” (Trump Jr. claimed he was referring to capital punishment).
In September 2016, as Talking Points Memo wrote, “Trump Jr. borrowed an analogy popular among anti-immigrant activists and white nationalists for his meme likening Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles.”
Unsurprisingly, neo-Nazis hailed Trump Jr. during the campaign for his efforts.
Following the campaign, Trump Jr. has continued to embrace the far-right.