The Maryland delegate was approved for the GOP convention by the Trump campaign.
Josh HarkinsonMay 19, 2016 3:04 PM
A Maryland delegate selected by Donald Trump's presidential campaign for the Republican National Convention was indicted on Wednesday on federal weapons and child pornography charges.
The federal indictment alleges that Caleb Andrew Bailey, 30, of Waldorf, Maryland, illegally mailed a cache of ammunition and explosives through the US Postal Service and illegally possessed a machine gun and child pornography. The indictment also further alleges that Bailey "attempted to use and did use a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce child pornography."
Joe Cluster, the executive director for the Maryland Republican Party, confirmed to Mother Jones that Bailey was approved by the Trump campaign as a delegate to the GOP convention from Maryland's 5th Congressional District. Bailey could not immediately be reached for comment.
Questions remain as to how the Trump campaign has vetted its delegates for the GOP national convention. Earlier this month, Mother Jones reported that the Trump campaign approved a white nationalist leader as one of its delegates from California. That prompted the delegate, William Johnson, to resign. The Trump campaign blamed Johnson's inclusion on a "database error."
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Bailey's indictment.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m. EDT: The Trump campaign has issued a statement: "We strongly condemn these allegations and leave it in the capable hands of law enforcement. He will be replaced immediately."
Is Trump their ticket into the GOP convention and the mainstream?
Josh HarkinsonMay 19, 2016 6:00 AM
On May 10, Los Angeles attorney William Johnson resigned as a delegate for Donald Trump to the Republican National Convention after Mother Jones reported that Johnson is the leader of the white nationalist American Freedom Party. The Trump campaign, which selected Johnson as one of its California delegates, blamed his inclusion on a "database error." But white nationalist leaders, including one who has contributed to an online hate forum, are now claiming that other members of their movement have become delegates for Trump.
"[H]ere is what they don't know: we have more delegates!" the American Freedom Party wrote on its Facebook page last week, in response to the Mother Jones report.
Johnson said in an interview that he is not directly involved with the AFP's Facebook page, but he confirmed that the page is run by Robert H. DePasquale, whose covert activism as a white supremacist is well documented. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, DePasquale is a web designer in New York City who has built sites for white supremacist groups and has pseudonymously posted more than 20,000 racist and anti-Semitic messages on Stormfront, a leading online hate forum. (The forum's motto is "White Pride World Wide.") DePasquale did not respond to requests for comment. The AFP's Facebook post, captured by Mother Jones in this screen shot, was soon deleted:
The AFP has come to see the Trump campaign as its path to taking white nationalism into the mainstream. In recent months the group and a related super-PAC have produced and funded pro-Trump robocalls, set up a "political harassment hotline" for Trump supporters, and promoted Trump on a talk radio show.
But movement leaders appear torn about how much to shout from atop the Trump bandwagon versus staying in the shadows. Johnson told Mother Jones that he knows of at least one other AFP memberwho has been selected by a state party to attend the GOP convention this July. Johnson declined to identify the person for fear of compromising the person's involvement with the GOP, but he disclosed that he is an "honorary" delegate for Trump from an Eastern state. So-called honorary delegates do not have voting power, but typically are selected bystate parties to attend the convention, often as a perk in exchange for political donations.
At Johnson's request, the AFP delegate for Trump agreed to be interviewed by Mother Jones, but later backed out. Johnson said there are additional white nationalist Trump delegates who have been in touch with movement leaders, though "I don't actually know who they are. There are people who are surreptitious," he said.
"Right now people are still a little bit afraid because they will have the same reaction that happened to me," Johnson explained. "We just have to give it a few more months before people feel comfortable."
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Led by Johnson since 2009, the American Freedom Party "exists to represent the political interests of White Americans" and aims to preserve "the customs and heritage of the European American people." The AFP has never elected a candidate of its own to public office and is estimated to have only a few thousand members, but it is "arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok.
Johnson believes that Trump's rise will motivate other white nationalists to express their views publicly. "You've got to realize that I'm out in the open and upfront, but a lot of people aren't there yet," he said. "Talk to me in eight months and more people will be out. Particularly if Donald Trump gets elected."
Is racism a bug in the Trump campaign, or a feature?
Josh HarkinsonMay 11, 2016 5:18 PM
Every political campaign has its share of computer glitches and technical malfunctions, but for the Trump campaign, these sorts of bugs have a strange tendency to happen whenever white supremacists come up for discussion. Just how often has this been the case? More than you might think.
The "database error"
After Mother Jones reported on Tuesday that the Trump campaign had selected white nationalist leader William Johnson for its slate of California delegates, the Trump campaign at first claimed the story was "totally false." But soon, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks gave a different explanation: "A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the candidate's list in February 2016," she said in a statement emailed to Mother Jones and other news organizations. Johnson then told Mother Jones that he would resign as a delegate.
The "bad ear piece"
In a Sunday morning interview in late February, Trump declined to disavow an endorsement for former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke after being asked about it repeatedly by CNN's Jake Tapper. He later claimed he couldn't hear what Tapper was asking. "I was sitting in a house in Florida, with a bad ear piece," Trump told NBC's Today show. "I could hardly hear what he was saying. I hear various groups. I don't mind disavowing anyone. I disavowed Duke the day before at a major conference."
A source familiar with Trump's three television interviews that Sunday morning told Mother Jones that NBC and Fox were in charge of the camera and satellite truck—a common pool sharing arrangement—and that the same equipment was used for all three interviews. "So the notion that some particular earpiece was to blame is not accurate," the source said.
The Photoshop glitch
Last July, Trump tweeted a photo of himself looking stoic against a backdrop of an American flag and marching soldiers.
The tweet seemed unremarkable, until close observers noted that the soldiers used in the image were in fact dressed as Worl War II-era Waffen-SS infantry. The Trump campaign deleted the tweet and toldThe Hill that an intern was at fault.
Various other social-media glitches apparently have involved the processor between Trump's ears: He has retweeted white supremacist Twitter accounts such as @WhiteGenocideTM and @EustaceFash, which campaign spokesperson Hicks has explained by noting that Trump pays no attention to who's doing the tweeting, but only to the content.
GOP delegates to vote on the issue at this week's convention.
Josh HarkinsonMay 11, 2016 3:09 PM
If the nationalists get their way, this November might be the last time Texans vote for a US president.
On Wednesday, the Platform Committee of the Texas Republican Party voted to put a Texas independence resolution up for a vote at this week's GOP convention, according to a press release from the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement. The resolution calls for allowing voters to decide whether the Lone Star State should become an independent nation.
Texas was, in fact, its own country for nine years before joining the United States in 1845, and while the idea of returning to independence has never been taken seriously by most people, it remains popular as a romantic notion and marketing hook. Lone Star beer is the "national beer of Texas." Texas Monthly is the "national magazine of Texas." In a 2009 rally, then-Gov. Rick Perry hinted that the state could secede if "Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people." He later backed off the idea. (Representatives of the state GOP and Texas Nationalist Movement could not be reached for comment.)
The Texas Nationalist Movement, once considered a quixotic fringe group, has added hundreds of members in the years since the election of Barack Obama. According to the Houston Chronicle's Dylan Baddour, at least 10 county GOP chapters are coming to the convention supporting independence resolutions. But this will be the first time in the state's 171-year history that they will actually vote on one. It's very unlikely to win. Then again, that's what people said about Donald Trump.
Yesterday the Trump campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California. 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.
Reached again by Mother Jones late Tuesday, Johnson said he would resign as a delegate if asked to do so by the campaign. "I accept Trump's explanation," he said, regarding the statement. "I don't want to gainsay the Trump campaign. If I am not removed from the database, I will resign."
Although the Trump campaign blamed a "database error" for including Johnson as a delegate, the campaign corresponded with him personally just over 24 hours ago. Trump's California delegate coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino, sent Johnson a congratulatory email on Monday, and when he asked for clarification about how to send his completed pledge form back to the campaign, she replied. Here is the email exchange (with the personal contact information redacted by Mother Jones):
Mother Jones also has a copy of the pledge form discussed in the email exchange, which Johnson signed and sent to the Trump campaign on Monday. You can see his pledge here.
Update, 6pm PDT: ABC News' Candace Smith reports that Johnson may remain a Trump delegate per California regulations:
NEW: White Nationalist William Johnson remains on Trump's delegate list. Statement from CA Secretary of State Spox: pic.twitter.com/v7DNg0QE7v