The Donald Trump campaign contradicted reports that white nationalist William Johnson had been selected as one of the controversial candidate’s California delegates late Tuesday, blaming the inclusion on a “database error.”
Johnson’s name appeared on a list of Republican delegates pledged to Trump, released by California’s secretary of state Monday night ahead of the state’s June 7 primary.
“Yesterday the Trump campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California,” the campaign said. “A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016.”
“This was immediately corrected, and a final list, which does not include this individual, was submitted for certification,” Newsweek reports Trump’s Calif. State Director Tim Clark, said in a statement Tuesday.
William D. Johnson is a corporate lawyer and chairman of the American Freedom Party, a group that “represents the interests and issues of European-Americans”, according to its website. But the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, says the party was “initially established by racist southern California skinheads” and “aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule.”
Mother Jones reported Johnson was behind white supremacist robocalls rolled out in support of Trump during the primary season. “The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,'” Johnson said in a robocall targeting landlines in Vermont and Minnesota. “Donald Trump is not racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.”
Johnson confirmed his approval in an interview with Mother Jones Tuesday.
“I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views,” Johnson said. “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”
Trump’s racially-tinged rhetoric and tough stance on illegal immigration have earned him the support of other white supremacists.
Donald Trump came under fire in February for failing to denounce ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. Duke formally endorsed Trump last August.
“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” he said when asked three times whether he would distance himself from the hate group.
“So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”