Meet Trump’s California Mini-Me, Omar Navarro

Trump supporters Omar Navarro (L) and Harim Uzziel live stream their counter-protest of the executive order by US President Donald Trump, banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries at Los Angeles Interna... Trump supporters Omar Navarro (L) and Harim Uzziel live stream their counter-protest of the executive order by US President Donald Trump, banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, February 4, 2017. / AFP / Kyle Grillot (Photo credit should read KYLE GRILLOT/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Here’s an emblematic story of the Trump Era, not simply because of the shameless behavior but the telling eagerness to claim victimhood over your own shameless behavior. Meet Omar Navarro, a diehard Trumper who is waging a presumably hopeless campaign to unseat Rep. Maxine Waters in California’s 43rd congressional district. His supporters range from far-right to alt-right. 

Navarro’s website describes a range of philanthropic, business and political work. The 29 year old “is a Small Business Owner, and has worked with Fortune 500 companies … Omar is the coordinator for the Unified Small Business Alliance Outreach Program.” In fact, the former car salesman is apparently unemployed and was convicted only two years ago of attaching a tracking device to his now estranged wife’s car. He is currently on probation. After initially denying any run in with the law in an interview with The Daily Breeze he admitted his offense and claimed he had “no idea” using electronic tracking devices were illegal. Navarro, who has apparently also been booted from a number of local Republican groups, was sentenced to 18 months probation and forced to take an anger management course.

Back in December Navarro posted a fake letter to Twitter which purported to be from Waters expressing her support for resettling 41,000 Somali refugees in her district. It was a forgery. The laws on distributing forgeries, especially on a forum like Twitter, are fuzzy. But in this case, it involved creating a fake document on congressional letterhead, with a government seal. That potentially makes it a federal crime. Navarro never took it down, even after it was exposed as a forgery. You can see it here.

Because there’s at least an argument that this breaks federal law, Waters filed a complaint with the Capitol Police. And earlier this month the FBI contacted Navarro’s campaign office requesting an interview. He was scheduled to speak to them today. But he postponed the meeting so that his lawyer could be present. (Probably wise.) They will apparently meet next week.

According to Navarro, he never claimed the letter was real. He was just asking his followers if it was real or not. That’s pretty obviously false: look at the tweet. He now claims he got the forgery from someone he doesn’t know. And now they’ve disappeared. Here’s how the LA Times captured it.

Navarro said a person he does not know, and has not had contact with since, sent the letter to his campaign. He did not vet it before putting the letter online, and has told The Times he assumed his followers would let him know if it was fake. “I don’t know if it’s real or not, so I put it out there,” he said in December. Navarro has not deleted the tweet with the fake letter and it continues to be circulated.

Let repeat one point. Not only does he say he has no idea if the letter is real. He hasn’t even taken it down!

But the best part is that Navarro is now using the FBI investigation to fund raise off of. He’s repeatedly used the FBI interview as part of fundraising pitches. Indeed, he has explicitly cast the FBI’s request for an interview as another “witch hunt” on a par with the Russia “witch hunt” he claims the FBI is waging against President Trump. “Im tired of false witch-hunts on the Trump Administration and my campaign against Maxine Incite violence Waters. Please donate today …”

He’s even adopted his leader’s trademark whataboutism …

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