UPDATE 6:04 PM: The Trump campaign released a statement ascribing William Johnson’s inclusion on the California delegate slate to a “database error.”
One of the most prominent white nationalists in the United States was approved by the Donald Trump campaign to serve as a delegate for Trump in the California primary, Mother Jones reported Tuesday.
William Johnson, head of the white nationalist American Freedom Party and architect of a pro-Trump robocall campaign urging white voters to elect Trump, confirmed to the news site that his application to serve as a delegate for the campaign was approved.
“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.”
He did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
Johnson has been campaigning in support of Trump in earnest since last fall. He founded a Super PAC in November 2015 to raise money on the billionaire mogul’s behalf, and launched a robocall get-out-the-vote effort in early voting states heaping praise on Trump’s anti-immigrant views. In press releases announcing the robocall campaign, the PAC referred to Trump as America’s “Great White Hope.”
As Johnson told TPM at the time, Trump’s candidacy is helping America move towards the creation of the “white ethno-state” that he hopes to see in his lifetime.
Under fire for his reluctance to disavow the support of other white nationalists, including former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, Trump in February promised to return a $250 donation he received from Johnson in September 2015.
Johnson maintains that he has never spoken to anyone from the Trump campaign directly, and Trump has said he would “disavow” the support of his white nationalist backers.
Johnson told Mother Jones that he disclosed details about his activism—including the robocalls, a pro-Trump radio show he co-hosts, and a “political harassment hotline” for beleaguered Trump supporters—in his application to serve as a California delegate. He said he omitted the specific phrase “white nationalist.” The campaign’s California Delegate Coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino, did not respond to Mother Jones’ request for comment.