Trump Campaign Taps Chair of White Nationalist Political Party As Delegate (Updated)

Donald Trump
Donald Trump / AP

UPDATE 10:40 a.m.: Trump’s campaign announced after this story broke that Johnson was mistakenly placed on its list of delegates because of a "database error," and that the white nationalist’s application was in fact rejected in February. "We are working to correct this error," Trump spokesman Hope Hicks said in a statement, according to CNN.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has tapped Los Angeles-based corporate lawyer William Johnson, a white nationalist leader, as a delegate for the forthcoming Republican primary in California.

Johnson chairs the American Freedom Party, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a political party "initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule."

Mother Jones reported:

In 1985, Johnson published, under a pseudonym, Amendment to the Constitution: Averting the Decline and Fall of America, a book calling for the abolition of the 14th and 15th Amendments and the deportation of all nonwhites. He tried to sound a practical tone, allowing, for instance, that African Americans should receive "a rich dowry to enable them to prosper in their homeland." … Twenty years later, after unsuccessfully running for various other offices, Johnson became the head of the American Freedom Party (then known as American Third Position), at the request of a group of Southern California skinheads. Johnson’s post was supposed to be temporary: "The skinheads thought I was too extreme to run the organization," he explained. But they were the ones who ended up dropping out, replaced by what has become a sort of white nationalist brain trust: Party leaders now include a former Reagan administration appointee and a professor emeritus at California State University-Long Beach.

Johnson has been aggressively supporting Trump in recent months, producing robocalls encouraging Americans to vote for the business mogul in the primary election. The robocalls are funded by the American National Super PAC, which Johnson founded in November.

The American Freedom Party also streams a "Daily Trump Phenomenon Hour" podcast and has opened up a "political harassment hotline" to help Trump supporters who want to connect with an attorney about being attacked by anti-Trump protesters, according to Mother Jones.

Johnson was required to send in an application to become a GOP delegate for Trump, in which he said he disclosed his background but did not specifically mention the term "white nationalist." The Trump campaign accepted Johnson as one of its 169 delegates.

The list of delegates was released by the office of California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla Monday evening. In addition to Johnson, the list also includes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Darrell Issa.

Johnson has attracted attention for his support of Trump in recent months. He told Talking Points Memo in January that he believes Trump’s candidacy will move the country in the "direction" of creating a white ethno-state.

"I think Trump’s candidacy is helping move us in that direction," Johnson stated. "Whether he is elected or not, his candidacy is a big factor in helping destroy this middle-of-the-road Republican mindset."