A director for the white nationalist group whose chairman was selected by the Trump campaign as a delegate to the Republican National Convention said they “want to help” their “friends” at the Trump campaign “as much as we can.”
The Trump campaign chose William Daniel Johnson, chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, as a convention delegate from California. After Mother Jones broke the news, the campaign claimed the selection was a “database error.” Johnson has since “said he does not plan to attend the convention and wants to let an alternate delegate serve in his place instead.” Trump previously accepted a $250 donation in September from Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump.
Johnson previously supported Trump’s candidacy by releasing robocalls in several primary states.
James Kelso is a director for the American Freedom Party. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Kelso “is an extremely hyper organizer and serial joiner of religious sects and, starting in the 1990s, racist organizations” and is “a key behind-the-scenes operative” for the American Freedom Party. He has written that if he “were part-White or fully non-White I would not reproduce my racial type,” and advocates against “breeding mixed-race children.”
Kelso hosts the daily one-hour program The Trump Phenomenon, which is supported by the American Freedom Party. During his May 10 broadcast, Kelso reacted to news of Johnson’s delegate selection by saying white nationalists are committed to helping Trump “as much as we can” without creating “any problems for any of our friends in this tremendous Trump phenomenon”:
JAMES KELSO: We’re amazed at the very huge Donald Trump phenomenon. And so we have an interesting, you could say, an interesting relationship where we want to help as much as we can. We don’t want to hurt at all. We don’t want to create any problems for the Trump campaign. So we’re walking a complex path here of finesse and tact and communication skills so that we don’t create any problems for any of our friends in this tremendous Trump phenomenon. And we help as much as we can and our enemies, they will do as they’ve always done.
Kelso concluded that the attention surrounding Trump has caused a lot of people to notice “that we’re here.”
Trump’s selection of Johnson is just another in a long series of troubling interactions the presumptive nominee and his campaign have had with the white nationalist movement. Those problems include, but are not limited to:
- The Trump campaign gave press credentials to white nationalist radio host James Edwards.
- Donald Trump Jr. gave an interview to Edwards.
- Trump failed to initially condemn former KKK leader David Duke.
- Trump surrogates Diamond and Silk gave an interview to neo-Nazi Holocaust denier John Friend.
- Trump refused to condemn his racist neo-Nazi supporters after they attacked a reporter with anti-Semitic death threats.
- Trump keeps retweeting white nationalists on Twitter.