Laura Loomer: Far-right ‘proud Islamophobe’ wins Republican primary in Florida

Extremist candidate has been banned from Twitter, Uber and Lyft for expounding hateful views

Andrew Naughtie
Wednesday 19 August 2020 10:21 BST
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Laura Loomer thanks Donald Trump for his endorsement

A far-right agitator who once called Islam “a cancer on society” has won her Republican congressional primary in Florida – backed by the endorsement of Donald Trump.

Laura Loomer, who has described herself as a “proud Islamophobe” and earned a reputation for staging one-woman “stunts” both online and off, is now the Republican nominee for the safely Democratic Palm Beach district which covers the president's Mar-a-Lago Resort, and where Mr Trump himself votes.

Ms Loomer was banned from Twitter in 2018 for violating its rules on hateful conduct; she responded by handcuffing herself to the front door of the company’s headquarters. She was also permanently barred from ride-sharing platforms Uber and Lyft after ranting online about being late for a meeting because she couldn't find a non-Muslim cab driver.

“Someone needs to create a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver,” she tweeted before her Twitter account was shut down.

She has also been banned from a string of other platforms and events, from Medium and PayPal to New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park festival, where she interrupted a 2017 performance of Julius Caesar by storming the stage during the lead character’s assassination and shouting “Stop the normalisation of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!”

Nonetheless, she has received the backing of Donald Trump, who appeared to be on first-name terms as he tweeted his congratulations: “Great going Laura. You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!” he wrote. He then followed up with various retweets announcing her win.

Ms Loomer was also backed by the sitting Florida congressman and dogged Trump supporter Matt Gaetz, who has previously attracted opprobrium for alluding to the racist “replacement” theory. His call on Floridans to vote for Ms Loomer was retweeted by Mr Trump after the result emerged.

Ms Loomer’s victory party featured speakers from the far right, including longtime provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as Trump ally Roger Stone, who has been convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress.

Others endorsing Ms Loomer include controversial Republican congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, now the Republican candidate for a safe seat in Georgia. She is a well-known supporter of the extremist QAnon conspiracy theory movement, but has nonetheless been endorsed by top Republican leaders.

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