White nationalists take pro-Trump campaign above ground in Iowa

For months, white supremacist groups have been promoting Donald Trump for president on neo-Nazi websites like The Daily Stormer. Evan Osnos wrote a detailed piece on the phenomenon for The New Yorker in August. If you doubt that neo-Nazi is an appropriate label for the movement, read some of the responses Anna Merlan received from Trump’s white nationalist fans after she published about the same topic at Jezebel.

What had been mostly a stealth campaign to build support for Trump went above ground this weekend with a wave of robocalls to potential Iowa caucus-goers, paid for by the American National Super-PAC. Talking Points Memo posted the audio yesterday. I enclose the same audio clip and my transcript below, thanks to John Deeth, who received the audio file from an Iowan on January 9.

A pro-Trump radio ad campaign paid for by the same white nationalists is set to air on Des Moines Radio Group’s KPSZ-AM from January 12 through January 22. In a January 8 press release, the American Freedom Party’s presidential candidate Bob Whitaker

stated that he did not feel that his campaign is undermined by William Johnson’s efforts. “Our campaign slogan is ‘Diversity is a Code Word for White Genocide.’ Donald Trump’s campaign may help remind Americans that all genocide, even against white people, is evil. My campaign is there to help keep the candidates on point regarding race in America.”

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The Des Moines Radio Group ultimately declined to accept this ad placement. Scroll to the end for details.

Open Secrets does not yet have any donor information about the super-PAC, but in the call script, a man identifying himself as “William Johnson, a farmer and a white nationalist” says he paid for the robocalls. A statement of organization filed last week with the Federal Election Commission lists William Johnson as the super-PAC’s treasurer. No independent expenditure reports have been posted yet on the FEC’s website; those are supposed to be filed within 48 hours of an independent expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate. I will update this post if and when more details become available on how much money this PAC is spending to promote Trump’s candidacy. At this writing, I have not yet seen any comments from Trump or his campaign about the white nationalist effort to boost his support in the Iowa caucuses.

UPDATE: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s profile of the “uninspiring but determined white separatist” Johnson is worth reading in full. I’ve posted a few excerpts below. Although Johnson called himself a farmer on the robocall to Iowans, he spent a career as a corporate attorney.

As of Monday morning, Trump has still not commented on this story. He campaigned in Ottumwa on January 9.

UPDATE: The radio ads will be hour-long editions of the “For God and Country” programs, featuring Reverend Ronald Tan and William Johnson. Added more details on the ad campaign at the end of this post.

Trump Robo Call-2

My transcript:

Man’s voice: The American National Super PAC makes this call to support Donald Trump. My name is Reverend Ronald Tan, host of the Christian radio talk show program For God and Country. First Corinthians states, “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. For the Iowa caucuses, please support Donald Trump. He is courageous and he speaks his mind. God Bless.

Different man’s voice: I’m Jared Taylor with American Renaissance. I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America. We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.

Third man’s voice: I am William Johnson, a farmer and a white nationalist. Support Donald Trump. I paid for this through the super PAC. 213-718-3908. This call is not authorized by Donald Trump.

UPDATE: From the Southern Poverty Law Center’s profile of William Johnson, treasurer of the pro-Trump white nationalist super-PAC:

As early as 1985, Johnson proposed a constitutional amendment that would revoke the American citizenship of every nonwhite inhabitant of the United States. A quarter century later, in 2010, he was still actively supporting white nationalist causes, serving as chairman of the racist American Third Position political party (renamed American Freedom Party in 2013), established the prior year. The party wants to run racist candidates nationwide.

In His Own Words
“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.”
— Excerpt from the “Pace Amendment” to the Constitution proposed by Johnson in 1985

“The Third Position insists that it is both healthy and divinely ordained that people should have a genuine love and preference for their own kind.”
— From a Dec. 31, 2009 video, “An Introduction to the American Third Position” […]

In 1985, under the pseudonym James O. Pace, Johnson wrote the book Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and Fall of America. In it, he advocates the repeal of the 14th and 15th amendments and the deportation of almost all nonwhite citizens to other countries. Johnson further claimed that racial mixing and diversity caused social and cultural degeneration in the United States. He wrote: “We lose our effectiveness as leaders when no one relies on us or can trust us because of our nonwhite and fractionalized nature. … [R]acial diversity has given us strife and conflict and is enormously counterproductive.”

Johnson’s solution to this problem was to deport all nonwhites as soon as possible. Anybody with any “ascertainable trace of Negro blood” or more than one-eighth “Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood” would be deported under the Pace Amendment.

SECOND UPDATE: Johnson initially filed a statement of organization for the “American National Trump Super PAC” with the Federal Election Commission in November. FEC officials wrote back to Johnson, informing him that a committee’s name may not include the name of a candidate without being authorized by that candidate. Johnson filed an amended statement of organization last week omitting Trump’s name.

THIRD UPDATE: The white nationalists will be running full 60-minute radio programs promoting Trump on Des Moines-based KPSZ, 940 AM. According to the Des Moines Radio Group, the shows will run from 6 pm to 7 pm, with no commercial breaks during that time. The first show is set to air on January 12, and the schedule has not yet been finalized, but I am told the programs will not run every day during the January 12th to 22nd window.

As of late Monday morning, independent expenditure filings for the American National Super-PAC’s spending in Iowa were not available on the FEC’s website. Filing requirements depend in part on the proximity to an election and in party on on whether an outside group is spending more than $10,000 in aggregate (see page 150 of this document). The Des Moines Radio Group declined to state over the phone the size of the purchase by Johnson’s group, saying that information is available in a public file that can only be viewed in person at their headquarters. I will update this post later with those details.

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The Des Moines Radio Group on January 11 decided against accepting the ad placement, after “our attorney advised us that we should not take the business,” according to an account representative. The radio group provided the tentative agreement to Bleeding Heartland. The advertiser was listed as “FOR GOD & COUNTRY” (the name of the radio program hosted by Reverend Tan), rather than for the American National Super-PAC. The advertiser was to have paid a total of $2,100: $350 each for six hour-long programs that would have aired at 6 pm on January 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, and 22.

From my perspective, the radio group got good legal advice. What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers?

At this writing, Trump has not commented on how his campaign rhetoric has emboldened white nationalists to take their hateful message to a wider audience.

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  • Good advice indeed

    I don’t know if I would call it good legal advice, but I would certainly call it good business advice. I don’t know that playing those ads would have put the station at any legal risk, but the business impact could have been significant.

    I think we may be waiting a long while before Trump condemns such ads/robocalls. After all, we are talking about a large portion of his base, and he has no shame.