Donald Trump's presidential campaign is running for cover following the revelation that a white nationalist radio show received press credentials for a Trump rally and will feature an interview with Donald Trump, Jr.
On March 1, Media Matters and Little Green Footballs' Charles Johnson reported that James Edwards, host of the white nationalist radio program The Political Cesspool, had written in a blog post that he “attended a Donald Trump rally in Memphis on Saturday night as a fully credentialed member of the media” and that his upcoming show “will feature a previously taped 20-minute interview with Donald Trump, Jr.” Edwards repeatedly praised Trump in his blog post, calling him “the first Republican nominee that I have ever voted for” and declaring him “the only candidate who gives us a chance at having a fighter who will put America first.”
As Media Matters has documented, national civil rights groups have criticized the program for supporting anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and white supremacists like David Duke. The show openly states on its website that it's a “pro-White” program that wishes “to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility.” Edwards has also claimed that Martin Luther King Jr.'s “dream is our nightmare,” “interracial sex is white genocide,” and “slavery is the greatest thing that ever happened to” African-Americans.
After coming under heavy criticism, the Trump campaign has responded by furiously backpedaling, seeking to avoid the taint of their toxic white nationalist supporters as Trump tries to solidify his hold on the Republican nomination.
Trump's campaign claimed in a March 2 statement that media credentials were provided “to everyone that requested access to the event on Saturday in Memphis,” adding: “There were close to 200 reporters in attendance and we do not personally vet each individual. The campaign had no knowledge of his personal views and strongly condemns them.”
But Trump's campaign has frequently denied access to specific reporters and publications who have displeased them. In fact, according to The Wrap, the African-American publication The New Tri-State Defender was denied credentials for the Memphis event Edwards attended.
Trump's son has also claimed that he “wouldn't have consented to an interview with a pro-slavery radio host had he known the host held those views,” according to BloombergPolitics. He asserted that the interview “was not vetted” and was the result of him calling “35 different stations to tout his father's GOP presidential campaign, and one host asked him to speak with another host, who ended up being Edwards.”
Responding to the controversy, Edwards wrote on his blog, “in no way should anyone interpret our press credentialing and subsequent interview with Donald Trump, Jr. as any kind of endorsement by the Trump campaign.”
Trump's campaign has repeatedly been the subject of heavy criticism and struggled to provide explanations for the support and praise they have received from white nationalist groups and figures. White nationalists have praised Trump for spurring “unprecedented interest in” their ideology and putting their ideas “firmly in the mainstream.” Trump was recently excoriated after he repeatedly refused to denounce former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke's support during a February 28 CNN interview.