Donald Trump's campaign choose white supremacist as delegate 'by error'

William Johnson has since been dropped by the campaign

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 11 May 2016 22:39 BST
Comments
William Johnson said he was a white nationalist who shared Mr Trump's views
William Johnson said he was a white nationalist who shared Mr Trump's views

Donald Trump’s campaign has claimed that a computer error resulted in a well known white supremacist being included on a list of potential delegates in the state of California.

The campaign has said that William Johnson, a lawyer who wants to ban Muslims from entering the US and believes citizenship should be denied to non-white, was entered as a potential delegate by mistake. He has since been withdrawn from a list of delegates.

Mr Johnson, who recorded an automated campaign call on behalf of Mr Trump that ran in several states earlier this year, says he received an email from the Trump campaign confirming that he had been chosen to represent the New York tycoon.

The audio in the video appears to have been taken from one of Mr Trump’s campaign speeches at an Iowa rally earlier this year
The audio in the video appears to have been taken from one of Mr Trump’s campaign speeches at an Iowa rally earlier this year (Reuters)

“I contacted the office and I was approved without a lot of oversight,” Mr Johnson told The Independent. “They asked me what I had done for Mr Trump.”

The selection of Mr Johnson - first reported by Mother Jones - is deeply embarrassing for the the campaign of a candidate who has previously been accused of failing to distance himself from far right groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, who have announced support for the tycoon. In February, Mr Trump claimed he had never heard of David Duke, a former KKK wizard who had announced his support for him.

Mr Johnson - who dismissed the suggestion he was a white supremacist and said he preferred the term white nationalist - said he and many others supported Mr Trump because they shared many of his policies.

“He wants to stop immigrants, we want to stop immigrants. He wants to ban Muslims, we want to ban Muslims,” he said.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, an organisation that monitors extremist groups, described Mr Johnson as an “uninspiring but determined white separatist”. Its website listed several of his quotations, including one that dated from 1985 and said: “No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”

Former Ku Klux Klan official David Duke urged supporters to vote for Mr Trump
Former Ku Klux Klan official David Duke urged supporters to vote for Mr Trump (YouTube)

Mr Johnson, who heads the American Freedom Party, said that he stood by the comment. Mr Trump’s campaign said that Mr Johnson’s inclusion was the result of an error that had been addressed.

The Associated Press said that Mr Trump’s California director Tim Clark had released a statement blaming a “database error” for the inclusion of Mr Johnson.

Sam Mahood, a spokesman for the California Secretary of State’s Office, said the Trump campaign had attempted to submit a revised list of delegates to the office on Tuesday, a day after the deadline. It was rejected.

However, Mr Mahood said state election law allows candidates to submit a list of alternates within 30 days after the June 7 primary. He said it would be up to the Republican National Committee or the state Republican Party to set the process for replacing a delegate with an alternate.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in