Donald Trump Jr. insisted he would “never have done” an interview with a prominent white nationalist if he was aware of the interviewer’s views.
Trump Jr. told Bloomberg Politics on Wednesday that he was conducting a phone interview with conservative radio host Sam Bushman when James Edwards, host of the “Political Cesspool” radio show, jumped in with questions.
“He was brought into the interview without my knowledge,” Trump Jr. told Bloomberg.
Edwards has touted the 20-minute interview with Trump’s eldest son, which is set to air Saturday, and wrote a rhapsodic blog post about a recent Memphis, Tennessee rally for Donald Trump he attended, where he received full press credentials.
Both Edwards and Trump Jr. noted that their conversation was part of a block of radio interviews brokered between the Trump campaign and an outside booking agency. The distinction is that Trump Jr. said Edwards was the unannounced guest of Bushman, while Edwards claimed the booking agency personally invited him to interview Trump’s son after attending the Memphis campaign rally.
The “Political Cesspool” host said he ended up conducting a joint interview with Bushman instead due to scheduling conflicts (his show broadcasts on Saturday when Trump Jr. was not available).
According to Trump Jr., he did not know who was leveling questions at him because the interview took place over the phone.
“I never knew he was in the room so he didn’t interview me. He did apparently ask a question or two though. I had no idea,” Trump Jr. told Bloomberg.
The Trump campaign’s association with an “unapologetically pro-White” activist who called slavery “the greatest thing that ever happened” to black Americans comes at an awkward moment for the GOP candidate. Trump has been repeatedly pressed in recent weeks to disavow the support of white nationalists like ex-KKK leader David Duke.
Both Trump and his son have denied they have any sympathy for supporters who promote racist views.
Trump Jr. told Bloomberg the media is trying to promote a “false narrative that my father is racist” and covered his interview with Edwards to push that narrative.
“The way the media is spinning it is as though I voluntarily spoke with this guy and I knew his background, rather than I was essentially duped by him being in the room and asking an inane question where I clearly could not have ever known what or whom I was talking to,” Trump Jr. said. “It’s very unfair and typical of the way much of the media has handled us.”
As for Edwards, he is not much concerned if the Trump campaign disavows his views, which he insisted have “nothing to do with white supremacy.”
In his blog post about the Memphis Trump rally, Edwards wrote, “He can denounce me until the cows come home so long as he follows through on his pledge to build a wall and ensures that the aliens self-deport. I am supporting him because immigration is the single biggest problem that our nation needs to solve. Demographics is destiny. He doesn’t need to support me.”