News & Politics

Trump Campaign Picks White Nationalist Leader as California Delegate

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is photographed during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Let’s get this out of the way right at the top: Donald Trump is not a racist.

At least, I don’t think so. Unlike most liberals, I do not have a window into men’s souls to see what’s in their hearts.

But the fact that the Trump campaign has named William Johnson, a white nationalist leader, as a delegate for the upcoming Republican primary in California shows a frightening incompetence and ineptitude from his staff.

New York Daily News:

The apparent ineptitude of the Donald Trump campaign has resulted in the selection as one of the hate-spewing huckster’s delegates in California a notorious white supremacist leader.

William Johnson, the leader of the American Freedom Party — a group that promotes white nationalism — was chosen as one of the presumptive GOP nominee’s Golden State delegates, according to a list of Republican delegates for the party’s upcoming primary obtained by Mother Jones magazine.

Johnson had reportedly applied directly to the Trump campaign to be a delegate and was apparently accepted earlier this week.

In a series of emails to the Daily News, however, the Trump campaign first flatly denied the report altogether, then later said Johnson’s name was only included as the result of a “database error.”

Initially, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The New that the Mother Jones “report is totally false.”

“He has not, nor will he be, selected as a delegate,” Hicks said of Johnson.

But when the Daily News pointed out that Johnson was indeed listed on the California Secretary of State’s website as a delegate, Hicks said he had been included because of a “database error,” though she did not immediately clarify whether she was blaming an internal campaign error or the California Secretary of State’s office.

“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,” she responded.

But if that is true, Johnson has yet to get the memo.

He told Mother Jones that he had been notified of his selection by the Trump camp in a congratulatory email from Katie Lagomarsino, the candidate’s California delegate coordinator.

“I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views,” he told the magazine. “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”

I suppose a “database error” was responsible for sending out the congratulatory email, too.

What is up with this guy? First, he didn’t immediately condemn the David Duke endorsement. Then, he didn’t blink an eye when several white supremacist groups pledged their support. Now, he chooses a racist as a delegate and then, after it becomes public, withdraws his name with a lie.

This kind of signaling is despicable. It’s like The Donald is throwing a wink and a nod at the racists, letting them know that he welcomes their support, even if he has to say he doesn’t.

That doesn’t make him a racist. It makes him a very dangerous man.