Donald Trump‘s campaign is blaming a “database error” after news broke that it had named a notorious white nationalist as one of its California delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Trump’s campaign released a statement saying it had withdrawn William Johnson – a leader of the American Freedom Party and a self-proclaimed white nationalist – from its list after the alleged computer error, but state officials say it’s too late to remove him as the deadline has already passed, according to The Washington Post.
“William Johnson leads the American Freedom Party, a group that ‘exists to represent the political interests of White Americans’ and aims to preserve ‘the customs and heritage of the European American people,’ ” writes Mother Jones, which broke the story. “The AFP has never elected a candidate of its own and possesses at most a few thousand members, but it is ‘arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country,’ according to Mark Potok, a senior fellow for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups. Johnson got the news that he had been selected by Trump in a congratulatory email sent to him by the campaign’s California delegate coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino.”
The news organization interviewed Johnson, who said he was notified of his selection as a delegate in a congratulatory email from Trump’s California delegate coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino. “I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views,” Johnson told Mother Jones. “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”
“For many, many years, when I would say these things, other white people would call me names: ‘Oh, you’re a hatemonger, you’re a Nazi, you’re like Hitler,'” he added. “Now they come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re like Donald Trump.’ ”
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Johnson’s joy was short-lived. Trump’s California state director, Tim Clark, released a statement Tuesday announcing that the white nationalist’s name has been removed from the campaign’s list. “Yesterday the Trump Campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California. Upon careful review of computer records, the inclusion of a potential delegate that had previously been rejected and removed from the campaign s list in February 2016, was discovered. This was immediately corrected and a final list, which does not include this individual, was submitted for certification.”
Johnson said Tuesday night that he understands the campaign’s decision. “We live in a society where white people hate white people who like white people,” he told BuzzFeed. “So he doesn’t need the baggage.”
What Does Donald Trump Have in Store for the GOP Convention?
The presumptive GOP nominee told the Associated Press at his office in New York City on Tuesday that he’s planning to breathe some life into the four-day convention in July.
“The concept of some entertainment from a great singer, a great group I think would be something maybe to break things up,” Trump said. “You’ll be hearing plenty of political speeches.”
He also plans to announce his running mate at the event, and says he’s narrowed his short-list down to “five or six” people. He did not rule out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Until then, Trump said he will continue to focus on his trademark raucous campaign rallies.
“My best investment is my rallies … The people go home, they tell their friends they loved it,” Trump said. “It’s been good.”