A “white nationalist” publisher told TPM on Tuesday that he had to confer with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach before responding to a “complete smear” of a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center about Kobach’s speech to his group last month.
Kobach’s office on Tuesday did not return a request by TPM for comment about his Oct. 25 speech to the Social Contract Press’ Writer’s Workshop conference. The SPLC and the Center for New Community described the Social Contract Press, which was founded by prominent anti-immigration activist John Tanton, as a white nationalist publishing group.
KC McAlpin (pictured), the executive director of Social Contract Press’ parent company, US Inc., told TPM that’s because Kobach has a policy of not responding to such requests.
Shortly after contacting Kobach’s office Tuesday, TPM received a strange phone call from a man identifying himself as McAlpin. He immediately said calling TPM was a mistake and hung up after declining to say where he obtained a TPM reporter’s phone number.
McAlpin called TPM unsolicited again about an hour later. He wanted to present his own response to criticism of Kobach’s speech to the conference. He also he was not speaking for the Kansas secretary of state.
“The whole thing is absurd on its face. To call it a white nationalist conference is absurd and a lie,” he said. “To the SPLC, anybody who wants to see our immigration laws enforced is a racist in their definition. That’s the way they see the world.”
To prove the conference wasn’t “racist,” McAlpin pointed out that a black woman took a photo of Kobach speaking at the conference that had been posted to Twitter and later used in the reports. He stressed that there were also two Hispanic presenters at the conference in addition to “several” black, Hispanic and Asian attendees.
McAlpin also offered an explanation for his brief, prior phone conversation with TPM.
Asked if Kobach’s office gave McAlpin the phone number for TPM, he responded: “Yeah well we became aware of the story — he wanted to make us aware of the story, that there was this attack from the SPLC.”
He went on to explain why he quickly hung up.
“I was motivated to call you but then I thought, no, I better wait and make sure. So I communicated with Kris Kobach and asked him if it was okay because he was the one that had alerted me to the fact that there was a story out there,” McAlpin said. “He made it his policy not to respond to these because they’re such absurd charges. I can understand and respect that. But that’s the reason that I didn’t want to talk to you then.”